Alicia McClung: Giving back to the community that raised her
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Alicia McClung is running to represent District 8 on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. Alicia was born and bred in the Dallas education system. She graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class and secured three DISD scholarships to pursue higher education. Now, as a full-time reading intervention specialist, Alicia is the only career educator running for the role—a valued quality for any potential school board member. Alicia’s ultimate goal? “Give back to the community that raised me.”
Alicia was born in Athens, Texas but soon moved to Dallas where she lived with her grandmother—one of her first role models. Alicia’s grandma adopted Alicia at an early age. Alicia was enrolled in the elementary school where her grandma would go on to work as a teacher for twenty years. Alicia’s grandma did not graduate high school in the traditional sense but earned her GED and bachelor’s degree later in life. Alicia’s grandma was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her grandma’s perseverance in acquiring and providing education would lead Alicia to seek a career in the field.
As mentioned above, Alicia excelled in high school—earning the title of Valedictorian and receiving numerous scholarships. After she attended and graduated from college, Alicia returned to Dallas to teach. Alicia spearheaded the reading intervention programming at a local charter school. In this role, Alicia built a program for students with special educational requirements, such as students with dyslexia. Her biggest milestone thus far has been expanding this program into a robust initiative where students with dyslexia received specialized curriculum and resources. Alicia recognized how much work is needed to ensure every type of learned is reached. This experience pushed Alicia to advocate for students on a larger platform: public office.
Before Alicia became a candidate, she jumped into community organizing. She worked with the Texas Organizing Project, specifically on the Education Justice Committee. Alicia became really involved in the campaign to expand participatory budgeting, a program allowing families and students to participate in each school’s budgeting process. She spent a year working with TOP on the program and, in September 2019, helped establish a pilot budgeting program in two Dallas ISD high schools. During this time, Alicia was able to better understand the role that school boards play in the community. This experience was the catalysts for Alicia’s current campaign for office.
Alicia is running for Dallas ISD Board of Trustees in District 8. Her trifecta of focuses in this campaign are prioritization of racial equity, a quality working environment, and greater community collaboration. With regard to racial equity, Alicia hopes to expand the research and solutions provided by Dallas ISD’s office for racial equity. With regard to the working environment, Alicia specifically wants to prioritize employee benefits such as access to affordable health insurance; Alicia’s grandma could not afford insurance for Alicia and her sister when she worked in the district. With regard to community collaboration, Alicia plans to expand the impact of site-based decision making committees which help engage parents, students, and community members. Her platform was created to represent the concerns of the community.
Before Alicia ran for office, she trained under Teach for America’s Leadership for Educational Equity programming, a membership-only leadership training for TFA alumni. She trained in different educational routes such as elected office and education policy. This program gave her opportunities to identify what a campaign can look like. The biggest obstacle she faces—as most candidates would relate to—is scheduling. Running for office is a full time job. Alicia works all day as a career educator and then works all evening and weekends as a candidate. With her original election postponed to November, this race has been especially long and draining. But Alicia is a dedicated to giving back to her community, regardless of the sacrifice it requires.
To learn more about Alicia’s campaign, please visit www.aliciamcclung.com.