With early voting ending tomorrow and citywide elections coming up this weekend, we asked Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agent Marla Sewall to share with us some background on why this working wife and mother of four busy boys wants to take on the challenge of helping guide HPISD into the future.
1. What made you decide to run for this seat?
I’ve been a long time resident of University Park and have always looked for ways to give back to my community. As a parent of four boys in the district, I have been actively involved in the HPISD school district for over a decade. My children have greatly benefited from their experience in our schools, and I saw this role as an opportunity to help continue that tradition of excellence. I was also enthusiastically encouraged to run for this seat by members of the district with whom I most recently served on the Diversity Committee. Over the years, our community has evolved, and I view this role as an opportunity to bring a new perspective to the community.
2. What life or professional experience best equips you for this role?
As our society has become more transient, Highland Park has been a community for many newcomers, as it was for husband and I when we moved here from Chicago over 14 years ago. I feel that this trend is relevant and increasingly important, as we as a Board need to represent all members of this community. We have some incredible people currently on the Board, many of whom come from generations of Highland Park families. I feel that my insight and experience as a “newcomer” would be beneficial to the Board. Additionally, my experience working in a wide array of volunteer positions across the elementary, middle and high schools, has provided me with invaluable insight relating to curriculum, facilities, funding and staff.
Professionally, I graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree and spent my career working in the investment industry prior to becoming a real estate agent two years ago. I will bring the knowledge and skills learned in these diverse industries to address and help solve issues for the district.
3. How does your real estate background impact your perspective on what’s happening in HPISD and what its needs are?
The schools in Highland Park are a priority for residents in our community. It is one of the driving factors for many of the families who choose to live here. This neighborhood is known as a safe and well-established community that consistently ranks in the top public school systems in the country. As a realtor and a homeowner in the community, it is extremely important to me to preserve our home values by ensuring our schools continue to prepare our kids for the challenges that face them in college and beyond. Ensuring that we maintain excellent schools that adapt to an ever-changing community is one of my top priorities.
4. What gives you an edge over your challenger?
My life experiences and passion. I have experience in: raising four boys in HPISD; living in a different school district; moving to the Park Cities as a newcomer; being brought up in a cultural heritage that gives me eyes to see the increasing diversity of our district and to identify and address the challenges that may accompany this diversity. As my supporters will tell you, I’m also incredibly passionate about the causes, jobs, roles and even hobbies that I pursue. With a balanced and well-informed view, I will passionately support and fight for the issues most important to our district.
5. What has your experience been like raising your family in HPISD?
We have had a positive experience in HPISD, but it has not been without its challenges. As good as our school district is, there is always room for improvement. All four of my boys have attended HPISD schools since kindergarten. My twins are nearing graduation and our family cherishes the experiences we have had here. Highland Park is a close-knit, incredibly caring community, which I witnessed firsthand during a life-threatening health issue. I wouldn’t want to have raised my family anywhere else.