Cydnei Drake: "Why not me? Why shouldn't I do this?"
For Cydnei Drake, there was no straight path to success. Everything she has accomplished thus far comes because of her dedication and passion for her career. Cydnei is currently a school board trustee candidate for the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. She believes in women empowering women because this has personally given her the extra push to enter the political field. Despite being the first in her family to accomplish many things, this has not stopped her from wanting more. Cydnei is breaking generational curses and blazing a trail for young women.
Cydnei was born and raised in Oak Cliff, Texas, in a single-parent household where she spent most of her childhood living with her grandmother. She received her master's in Social Work from the University of Texas-Arlington. Before college, politics was never a vital subject in her home; in fact, her family never spoke about it. It was not until she moved to Austin that her political experience was enlightened, and she had the opportunity to vote for the first time. The 2009 presidential election hit home for her because she never thought that she would experience seeing an African American president during her lifetime. Witnessing Barack Obama run for office and winning sparked an interest in politics for her. Obama's presidential election proved to her that representation matters to see the changes we want in communities. This year, she has the chance to see her name on the ballot.
Cydnei is running for CFB-ISD board of trustees to represent her community, daughter, and the thousands of students who make up the district. She intends to bring her different perspectives of being a parent and social worker to ensure that the district is well prepared. If elected, she would be the first representative from Irving, which is crucial because over a thousand students who reside in Irving attend a CFB-ISD school. Still, they have never had a representative from the area.
When Candance Valenzuela stepped down from her position, Cydnei realized a need for someone; she then realized that she was the person indicated to step up for the position. She asked herself, "why not me? Why shouldn't I do this" and next thing you know, she was writing her name on the candidate's application. Before becoming a candidate, Cydnei was involved in committees for the CFB-ISD district and even participated in school board meetings. She was already making an impact in the district, but she knew that she could do more while holding office.
Cydnei has always had an interest in education, particularly education law. She had the opportunity to work for a law firm, representing faculty and administration from schools in various legal forms. This experience brought about a different perspective of school politics in which she knew that she wanted to make an impact.
For Cydnei, a few district issues spark attention, such as student's health, representation, and teacher retention. COVID-19 is a concern that has proven to have affected school districts greatly, and CFB-ISD is no exception. Student's health is her number one priority. She wants to ensure that children are still receiving the education that they deserve despite the circumstances that we are currently experiencing. Representation is another issue in her community that she feels strongly about. CFB-ISD is a semi-big district, and it encompasses different cities such as Irving, Dallas, Coppell, and Lewisville. Cydnei wants to focus on making sure that the voices of the people who make up the district are being heard and fostering the community. Teacher retainment is important to Cydnei, especially now during the pandemic. She wants to make sure that the district keeps the teachers that put in so much dedication and work into their jobs. Cydnei is aware that these are issues within the district, and if elected, she is prepared to work hard to find solutions that will make the district prosper.
Her support system is what keeps her on the right path to success. The people who surround her, her family, motivate her each day to continue reaching for more. Her grandmother, the trailblazer and head of the family was her first role model. Cydnei grew up watching her grandmother step up and go above and beyond for her despite working long hours and having other children to take care of. Throughout the years, Cydnei has resembled the attributes that made her grandmother special, such as caring, hard worker, and ambitious.
Running a campaign is a big commitment and not an easy task. On top of this, Cydnei works a full-time job and is also a mother and wife. She's not afraid to express that running for office is hard, but anything is possible with passion and drive.