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South Dallas will elect a new trustee this May

By Keri Mitchell, Founder + executive director
Dallas, Texas | local government, education, civic issues, investigative and enterprise reporting

February 16, 2024

South Dallas

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Dallas ISD District 9 Trustee Justin Henry will not seek re-election this May. Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD Flickr.

Dallas ISD School Board President Justin Henry announced this week he will not seek reelection as the District 9 trustee, and a four-way race to replace him is underway.

In a letter posted on Instagram, Henry said his family, and the time taken away from them while being a trustee, is the reason he chose not to run again after two three-year terms. Dallas ISD trustees are not paid a salary; both Henry and his wife, Chasity, are full-time attorneys and parents.

“Our two kids, Maya 11 and Alex 8, have experienced this entire ride with us. When we first campaigned, Alex was just over one year old,” Henry wrote. “These next few years of our kids lives are of the utmost importance, and the same is true for my parents. Being present for each of them is what is right for our family at this time.”

District 9 includes South Dallas and parts of Downtown Dallas, Pleasant Grove, Deep Ellum, Uptown and East Dallas. The four candidates who have filed to run for Henry’s seat are Da’On Boulanger-Chatman, Edward Turner, Oralia Alonso and LaKashia Wallace. Election Day is May 4.

Turner, a community organizer and 23-year District 9 resident, ran for the seat in 2018, and came in third to Henry and then-trustee Bernadette Nutall. On his campaign website, the PeaPenn Estates resident says his “highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students,” including “combating fentanyl”, followed by early childhood development and increasing job trades.

Boulanger-Chatman ran for City Council in 2021 when he lived in North Dallas, and came in fifth for the seat now occupied by Gay Donnell Willis. He still teaches choir and music studies at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, and moved to Buckner Terrace a year and a half ago. His campaign website lists operational functions, inclusion and diversity, and clear vision as top priorities.

Our quick web search did not pull up any campaign websites or social media pages for Alonso or Wallace, who both filed to run within the past week. Alonso’s application shows she is a parent instructor who lives in the Parkdale neighborhood and has lived in District 9 for 24 years. Wallace’s shows she is a consultant who lives in the Colonial Hills neighborhood and has lived in the district 40 years. Her LinkedIn page states she is the founder of South Dallas Parent Coalition, established in May 2023.

The filing deadline is today at 5 p.m., so it’s possible other candidates joined the race today and aren’t listed on the district’s website yet. There are nine Dallas ISD trustees who serve three-year terms, with three elections every May. District 1, representing North Dallas and Preston Hollow, and District 3, representing Far East Dallas, also are part of this election cycle. Early voting will begin April 22 for the May 4 election.

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