Kent Pope: The Heart of a Volunteer


Kami Boutotte, Author

In the school board election, candidate Kent Pope runs for position 6 as a self-proclaimed parent, volunteer and advocate for the district.

Pope involved himself with the community for years, volunteering for several boards and associations and working as a sales manager for Gordon Food Services of the Houston area.

“I’ve been a volunteer my whole life,” Pope said. “I’ve always stepped up. When my kids were growing up, they needed a baseball coach. I was a horrible baseball player, but my kids needed one. I learned how to play and coach baseball, so I think this is no different. The school board needs people stepping up and wanting to help.”

Not only did Pope volunteer as a coach for his kids, but he also served as a baseball deputy commissioner, a volunteer firefighter, joint council member, and a member for many different boards. Furthermore, Pope has a background in education, with his mother being a retired principal and his wife, Karen Pope, teaching English at the school.

“I think the people around me in education give me that vast knowledge of what good public education looks like,” Mr. Pope said. “I believe for me, having my wife in the district is actually a benefit because I get to learn more about what’s going on. If not for her, I’d just be an outsider that only knows what goes on from having a student that’s gone through public education.”

Mr. Pope graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. Now, as a sales manager, he works with a team of people to deliver food and groceries to businesses in the area, including Phil’s Roadhouse & Grill, Pizza Shack, Ransom’s Steakhouse & Saloon and Mama Juanita’s Mexican Restaurant.

“My approach is very balanced,” Mr. Pope said. “I think I’m going to bring somebody who both understands education, but also understands the business world. You have to have seen a lot of the world to be able to think through those pieces. There’s an art to being able to work in a group to get something accomplished. Some people can do that very well, and I’d say that’s what my strength is: being able to to put a group of people together, and then listen and figure out what the issue is and then work through it.”

After deciding to run, every candidate received a book regarding the functions of a school board from the state. According to Mr. Pope, it helped him to form a mindset of what a good board member can and can’t do.

“We don’t bring the budget, the school district does,” Mr. Pope said. “We just have to approve it, adjust it, and make sure it mirrors what the community is asking for.  We’re not the people who are supposed to walk in the room with an agenda that we press down on the district. Dr. Rees is way more qualified than I am to run a district, so I need to make sure I’m there to support him, but not necessarily believe that my sales experience is better than his education experience.”

Mr. Pope said that he’s heard complaints about growing class sizes and insufficient support for growing organizations like FFA. He also said he heard concerns about students that don’t have a path to go to college.

“The most important thing is making sure you guys are getting proper education and you’re challenged,” Mr. Pope said. “When you get out, if you’re not planning to go to college, you’re prepared to be able to walk out and get that job. Students like that really need to make sure they have the skills when they get out of here to immediately go to work. We need to make sure we have that balance and don’t forget about those kids.”

Mr. Pope said that he does not see any major problems with the district. He said that he does think the school district needs to continue to improve.

“I am one of those that believes the school district here is doing a great job,” Mr. Pope said. “We always need to do better. If you went to a competition, even if you came in first and you won, you wouldn’t walk away saying ‘I’m great, I’m not going to practice any more,’ and I think of that as Montgomery schools. We’re doing well, we’re winning, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of stuff you want to fix. I don’t believe that we’re perfect, there’s a lot of stuff we need to fix, but I do believe we’re a winning team with options to get better.”