We had the good fortune of connecting with Troy Reynolds and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Troy, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I want people to know that I, like most teachers, actually care. It’s why I advocate public education. What those who wish to privatize and create an even worse have/have not situation don’t understand is that we are not just a learning resource for children. Teachers are a lifeline. Kids need to know that there are adults out there who truly care what happens to them and how they turn out. Public education is the closest thing we have in this country to a silver bullet for closing economic ranks, and rich privatizers like Tim Dunn, Jeb Bush, and others are doing all they can to get rid of it so they can increase the gaps. I guess I want to be remembered as someone who believes all people really are equal.
What should our readers know about your business?
Texans for Public Education is literally a Facebook group that grew unimaginably. In 2011, I was a rookie building principal, and because of the budget cuts that happened back then, I had to lay off good teachers. It broke me, and I eventually made this little Facebook group as part of the healing process to talk with other educators about the political side of education that had resulted in the budget shortfall. The group exploded, and we are now one of, if not the largest grassroots advocacy group for Texas public education with over 31,000 members. We have a unique mission of not only activating voters, but in bonding voters from all parties into a single bloc of votes to get people into state office who care about public education. We are a little unique in that we are non-partisan, and in that we aren’t really so much issue-driven as we are character driven. As a membership body, we rate politicians as friendly, neutral, or unfriendly to public education. We then use those ratings to determine for whom we will vote as a bloc. Basically, we use issues as an indicator of character in regards to public education and vote accordingly. We accept that there will be issues that come up which we can’t even imagine which will arise, and we want people in positions of authority who we trust to make decisions which are best for kids regardless of whether we actually agree with them or not. We’re trying to change a hostile culture in Austin to one which fosters collaboration and problem-solving.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Assuming things would actually be open again, and Covid is a memory, the Astros are the obvious first choice. I grew up watching players like JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, and other legends playing the game, and to watch the love of the game our current crop shows in carrying on is a joy to watch. I also really love the House of Blues. Houston has many venues for concerts, but whether you are watching a group on main stage or in the Bronze Peacock room, it’s just a fantastic venue to have a good time and let loose. Locally, I can’t wait for my favorite craft beer bar, Hop Scholar, to open back up. Great food, dozens of craft beers on tap, and good folks. Also, if you prefer a cocktail, they have a hallway to their whiskey bar, Sabbatical. The owners, Todd and Corey, also own the veterinary clinic in that same shopping center, and they are great people to be around.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Scott Milder with Friends of Texas Public Schools deserves a shout-out. His mentorship to me, as well as the bravery he showed in running for Lt. Governor, is and inspiration. He and Leslie, his wife, are so positive and work so hard to share the positive stories of public education that mainstream media doesn’t share. They are great people with a noble mission!