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Open school board seat draws trio of candidates
Allen ISD will have its most crowded school board race in five years this May.
Place 4 incumbent Lois Lindsey will not seek another term, and with two weeks remaining in the election filing period, three candidates have already announced they'll be running for her seat: Ken Lento, Amy Gnadt and Vatsa Ramanathan.
Lento works as a sales manager for FlexLink Systems, which manufactures conveyor systems. He is also the director of field operations for the Texas Revolution. He and his wife, Debbie, have lived in Allen for more than eight years. They have three kids who attend Cheatham Elementary.
Lento is the president of Allen Gifted, Inc., a parent support group for gifted and talented students in AISD.
I am a big supporter of Allen ISD, and with young children growing up in the district, I would like to be part of the decision-making process, he said. I am not running as part of any group and will not receive funding from any group. I love to contribute my time and talents to help organizations and believe it is important to give back to the community. I plan to contribute by working hard and providing the same level of dedication for the people of Allen as I do for other community programs I have been a part of. I believe in making sound decisions to maintain the Allen way.
Gnadt works as a risk engineering consultant for the insurance industry. Gnadt and her husband, Jay, have lived in Allen since 2008. They have two children who attend AISD schools.
Gnadt is in her second year as PTA president at Mary Evans Elementary, where one of her kids attends. She is also the school's volunteer coordinator.
I believe the school district is at a crossroad where the impact of the current legislative issues and the local strategic planning process will merge calling for the development of fresh policies and procedures, Gnadt said. As an active school volunteer, I would be honored to bring my strategic planning, communication and organizational skills to the table to readily represent the students, parents and facility during this process.
Ramanathan works as an engineer at Fujitsu Network Communications, which designs and manufactures fiber-optic transmission and broadband switching applications. He is also the co-owner of Rivercrest Private School in Allen, which provides pre-K instruction and after-school care for elementary school kids.
Ramanathan and his wife, Shubha, have lived in Allen for 13 years. They have two daughters who attend AISD schools.
"Basically, I come from a family of educators, he said. I have been involved in school management for about 18 years both in the U.S. and abroad and have been an owner of a pre-school in Allen for five years. I am currently serving as a member of the strategic planning team for AISD, and I have studied the prevailing challenges for [the district]. This uniquely qualifies me to serve on the Allen school board."
The last time at least three candidates ran for a school board seat was during the May 2008 election, when current trustee Louise Master defeated challengers John Stephens and Thomas Buchanan with 66 percent of the vote.
Place 4 is one of two school board seats up for election this year. The other is Place 5, which is held by school board president Gary Stocker, who has filed to run for another term and has yet to draw a challenger.
That's also the case for the two Allen City Council seats on the ballot, which midway through the filing period feature only incumbents Baine Brooks and Robin Sedlacek.
All filing information is as of Tuesday morning.