Citing personal reasons, Comal Independent School District 4 Trustee Denise Kern announced Thursday she will not seek a third term on the board of trustees.

“I informed the board that I would not seek reelection,” she said Friday. “My mother is 93 years old and has been ill. I’m going to be traveling back and forth from Florida and because of that I won’t have the time to devote to the board. Family comes first.”

Kern, who has a doctorate in guidance and counseling psychology, has served as a teacher, counselor, principal, district administrator and trustee — off and on since the early 1990s. 

“I started as a counselor the year Bill Brown Elementary opened, when the district had about 4,500 students,” she said. 

Kern was a counselor in the New Braunfels ISD for four years before coming back to Comal ISD in 2001 as a counselor and later assistant principal as Rahe Primary and Bulverde Elementary merged to become Rahe Bulverde Elementary. She later oversaw the merging of Mountain Valley Elementary and Mountain Valley Intermediate into Startzville Elementary. 

Kern joined the CISD Support Services staff in 2011. After two years she went into private business, and was administrator for Head Start programs for Comal and Guadalupe counties when she ran for the CISD board in 2014.

District 4 borders four of CISD’s seven single-member districts, extending from FM 306, east to FM 2722, south to FM 1863, and just east of U.S. 281. Kern, riding the wave of voter discontent after the district’s mismanagement of bond programs, defeated incumbent Nancy Pappas to win her first three-year term; she ran unopposed for reelection in 2017.

“I really enjoyed serving and I learned a lot,” she said. “I’m happy I was able to keep the taxes low and I’m proud of the progress we made in establishing full-day Pre-K. 

“Being a board member is a big commitment that requires you to look at the big picture … you understand how student learning is profoundly impacted by decisions board members make.”

Board President Jason York said Kern, who was often on the losing side of votes she admitted challenged the status quo, will be missed.

“We really appreciate her six years as a trustee and all of the years she served as a teacher and administrator,” he said. “As a board we feel good about what we’ve done together … I only served with her for three years, but I’ve always thought she was an asset. 

“I truly enjoyed working with her this past year, and always went to her for her expertise. She will be sorely missed for her knowledge of what happens inside of schools,” he added. “Anytime we looked at a policy we were thinking of adding or changing, she was one of my first calls.”

Kern said she hopes her successor will be fiscally responsible, do their homework, and continue the district’s commitment to high-quality academic programs and teachers.

“The relationship between the student and the educator is the bottom line,” she said. “The innovative stuff — such as the events center that’s in the bond — these are things we must have to see that continue,” she added.

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