Bettye Okae hopes to bring skills to Prosper ISD Place 4

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Bettye Okae

Bettye Okae decided to run for the school board because she feels like she is an invested part of the district.  She has three children who attend in the district, and is involved in PTA, field trips, and has worked as a substitute teacher.  Okae feels that the board should actively listen to parent concerns and represent the parents when voting.  Finally, Okae wants to advocate for all students of all races and cultures. 

“This is a great school district but I do not see a lot of diversity in administration or on the board,” Okae said.  “I feel like it is important to have diversity to make good decisions for all the students in the district.  I have different lived experiences because of my background.  I feel like having a variety of  voices on the board will help support the students in the district.”

Okae has two main goals if she is elected to the board.  “I would like to better support those families that have one parent at home,” Okae said.  “My mother was a single mom and I know she had different needs as a parent, and I needed some different support in the school.  Making sure all students get the support that they need is one of the main goals I have.  Prosper is such an excellent district that people try so hard to move here, even if that means they do not have money for other things.  We need to be able to meet the needs of  those families that are struggling to live here and help their children.  Not all families can afford outside support for their children if they need extra help.  We need to make sure the schools are providing that support.”

“The other main goal I have is to address the bullying in the district,” Okae said.  “There are racial undertones in the bullying and we need to teach the children how to be friendly with everybody.  In my family, we had an incident with my daughter where race was involved.  I decided to be part of the school, through the PTA and going on field trips, so that the teachers could see that brown and black people can participate and be present in the school.  I know other parents have commented about bullying as well, and I know we need to address this throughout the district.”

Okae has a background in banking and data analysis.  “I was the Quality Assurance Director for the Census Bureau for the Dallas and Denver area,” Oake said.  “I have experience in analyzing data and listening to the people who give feedback.  I know how to combine the data and the personal feedback to be able to make decisions.  This is important in the school district.  I have attended school board meetings, and it seemed like the board members did not even listen to the parent concerns.  I think it is important to really listen to those parents and then make decisions.”  

“The school district is growing and we need to be concerned with fiscal responsibility,” Okae said.  “We need to spend less money on print material and athletics.  I think the district needs to shift some of that money to the education for younger students and special education.  I know with my child, it took the district a whole academic year to do complete testing.  If we invest more money into the testing and hire more special education support, that will benefit all the students.”  

Okae is focused on growing the teacher and support staff.  “Our overall goal is for all of the students to be on grade level,” Okae said.  “We need to provide students with supplementary programs to keep our students on grade level over the summer.  This district is exemplary, and that is great, but we have to put our focus on that to keep that level of education as we grow.”  

“Finally, we need to listen to the teachers and provide what they need for their classrooms,” Okae said.  “Teachers truly shape a child’s future.  My passion is seeing a child love to learn.  When I was young, I was diagnosed with a speech impediment, and that diagnosis changed my life.  I have five degrees now, but if I did not have a teacher who noticed that I needed that support, I would not be successful today.   I was taught by my grandparents that each generation wants better for the next generation, and I believe that is still true.   Education is the path for these children to do better.  I want all children to have a bright future.”