EDUCATION IS A GREAT EQUALIZER

Anu Benakatti Jan 04, 2019 178 Views   0 Comments

Our very well known beloved leader Mr. Nelson Mandela said,  “Education is a very powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. A very true statement indeed!

A well structured education is a fundamental tool and a requirement for every child that deserves to have a successful life and a promising future.

I would like to introduce a very humble person who is already known in the community for his volunteer work and for making a difference in student’s lives to benefit their future. He is none other than Mr. Gopal Ponangi.


Education is a great equalizer and a very important part of one’s life!  

With this statement Mr. Gopal Ponangi - an accomplished community leader, dedicated father, and a committed volunteer - announced his candidacy running for the Frisco ISD Board of Trustees for the upcoming year of May 2019. I had an opportunity to meet him to learn about his thoughts, ideas, and future plans for FISD and his message for the Frisco community.


Mr. Ponangi was born and brought up in Hyderabad, India. He holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Technology and completed his MBA from Kakatiya Uni. in Warangal India. Coming from a family of five siblings he always had a strong connection to education and a great passion for music.


He moved to Frisco in 2003 with his wife, who is currently a teacher, and two daughters, one pursuing her undergraduate degree in computer science at UTD and the younger one a 6th grade student. He then started his journey towards giving back to the community.


As a founder and president of Shubham foundation, a non profit org. which strongly supports education and healthcare areas, he continued his services to the community for more than a decade. He also served the community as co-chair of IAC (Indian Affairs Committee), on the Ad-hoc committee of Mayor of Frisco, and was director of the Sanatana Dharma foundation.

He led many fundraising events and successfully raised and donated $400K to organizations to support education at the grassroots level. He was also part of the FISD Programs and Facilities Evaluation Committee.


He was very excited to answer few of my questions about his interest in being part of FISD.


What is your view about education. Mission statement?

Education is a great equalizer and a very important part of anyone's life. A high quality of education is needed to ensure that kids get all around development with the skills needed for a rapidly changing work space and global economy. We definitely need students to be future ready and to confidently enter college or real life once they are out of high school. Well-educated citizens are needed so that the country has access to a well-trained, skilled workforce for the businesses that make the US shine. This needs to be done with a keen eye on budgets to ensure that the taxpayers are not burdened unnecessarily. A decent balance is the key.

As an elected BOT of FISD what would you like to focus primarily on?

I have been fortunate enough to serve the community in a number of roles over the past several years.  Education is my passion and my service has been directed primarily towards education. Playing the role of Frisco ISD Board of Trustees, I can harness my passion and experience to ensure Frisco ISD continues to serve its students, teachers, parents, and the community well.

I have served FISD and the community by being a part of the “Programs and Facilities Evaluation Committee” and made recommendations to the Board on the recent bond package which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. I am currently a part of the the “Long Range Planning Committee”.

 

Through fundraising I have provided support to the Frisco Education Foundation to provide scholarships for Frisco ISD students.

What would be your future plan of accomplishments towards FISD?

I would like to focus on providing the appropriate and optimal use of technology for our students and teachers. Gone are those days where a book, pen, pencil, blackboard and chalk are used as primary tools. There is an abundant use of technology both in teaching and the learning space. Students learn from the teacher, watch a youtube video, do their homework online and submit online. This will continue to change as technology continues to play a key role in teaching and learning. FISD is doing an awesome job in embracing the new technologies. With my strong knowledge in Information and Technology and experience the last two decades, I would like to extend my help to ensure the appropriate and optimal usage of technology is available both for teachers and students.

Another area of interest to me is ensuring the future readiness of the students. This world is dynamic and things change on a daily basis. Some of the things relevant and important in the past are obsolete today. The same is going to happen to what we have today. There is a decent chance that it will become obsolete tomorrow. In this continually changing world, we need to ensure that the students are Future Ready. Elementary students will need to be ready for the change of ways of learning in middle school. Same with Middle schoolers; they need to get ready for the changing ways of learning in High School. And high schoolers should be ready to embrace life and be ready for a college education and their future. Frisco ISD offers programs like Independent Study & Mentorship (ISM) designed for high-achieving juniors and seniors. The district also provides another program called Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in collaboration with the Chamber. YEA Program guides middle and high school students through the process of launching and running their own businesses through hands-on projects and activities

Both ISM and YEA are amazing programs. I would like to focus my efforts on ensuring more students get the best of these programs. This needs some collaborated work with the District, City, Chamber, Community and Industry.  I can confidently say that I will be able to positively contribute to make the changes happen.

You are a very accomplished, dedicated, hard working community leader and served 11 + years. What is your message asking the community for support so that you can have this great opportunity to give back?

I strongly believe in giving back.The community has witnessed my work and supported me for more than 15 years.  I will continue to do this while I take up the responsibilities as Board of Trustee. It will be a great privilege and opportunity for me, so that I can exploit my experiences and passions to ensure that Frisco ISD continues to excel in serving its students, teachers, and parents in an exemplary manner.  I would need the support of every parent in order to represent the entire community and be their voice in every important decision making process in the District.



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