Trustee Column: January 2021

boardHappy New Year and Happy 2021 Possibilities!


January is a perfect time to take inventory of self, to ground ourselves in gratitude, and to explore the power of mentorship. I am thankful to be in the land of the living. I am grateful to be able to work and serve my community. I am blessed to share my experiences and inspire others. 


January is National Thank You Month. While working remotely, I began practicing expressions of gratitude which have truly impacted and improved my mood and work efforts. I challenge you to think of five people you want to thank. 


I’ll start: 

  • Thank you to School Board Members across the nation. 


  • Thank you to everyone in the ecosystem of education who provide positive learning environments for students. 


  • Thank you parents and families for being everything needed to ensure that students prioritize learning. 


  • Thank you students for showing up in a virtual space and pursuing your education. 


  • Finally, thank you, reader, for persevering through a pandemic and still finding a reason to live every day. 


It is so important to practice gratitude because that is where our resilience is born. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort or convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge.” 


Individually and collectively, we are in a moment of challenge. The beauty of challenge is the opportunity to grow and build intentional connections with others, what ties this all together is gratitude for what we do and who we are able to impact.  


In the stillness of spending more time at home,I had the opportunity to also reflect on my upbringing. I am eternally grateful that my family has always been a great source of joy, support, and strength. As someone who has experienced many successes and failures, I draw upon their love and encouragement. My personal growth and development are the result of a strong support system which I deeply appreciate. 


Considering the power of systems of support which include mentorship, for the last ten years, I have served children and adults in various capacities and have seen first- hand what happens to people who lack foundation and basis for growth. I have always had a heart for people pursuing education and bettering themselves. There are many people who are unsure of their direction in life and they sometimes need an empathetic ear, a strong hand of guidance, and an example to follow.  


Unfortunately, and in a time when many need it most, so many are lacking vital systems of support and access to mentorship, especially in academic settings when people feel the most alone. When the coronavirus began to impact education, this gap in support became more pronounced. Yes, educators across the world answered the call and made a pivot to virtual teaching and learning; however, the need for support of people, particularly students, in a pandemic was amplified due to increased isolation and less healthy and available outlets for emotional expressional and support. 


In this season of adapting to new normals, it is imperative that we each extend kindness and connect with friends, family, peers and colleagues virtually and in other safe ways so that we are creating a network of support for ourselves and others. 



My overall goal in life is to close achievement gaps by combating the race-l, ethnic-, and gender-focused inequities in academic settings. I believe that if students have access to a passionate professional who approaches these disparities effectively, students will be better positioned to experience success. It has been both my experience in Texas schools and abroad that students want to learn but they need the support of people who also want to see them achieve. After all, as the adage says, students don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.


In 2021, let’s extend gratitude and kindness through mentorship and partnership. Get started by joining us here in DeSoto ISD. Visit to learn more about volunteering with students and schools in your community.

Amanda L. Sargent

School Board President

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