Midland businessman makes bid for SBOE

The CEO of American Patrols, Aaron Kinsey, is running for the District 15 spot on the State Board of Education.

American Patrols has a fleet of planes that look for pipeline leaks. The company is 34 years old and he and a business partner acquired it three years ago. The firm has 55 employees having started with 17.

Kinsey will face fellow Republican Jay Johnson, of Pampa, in the March 1, 2022, primary. The general election is Nov. 8, 2022.

The territory covers Andrews, Archer, Armstrong, Bailey, Baylor, Borden, Briscoe, Callahan, Carson, Castro, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Cooke, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Ector, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Gaines, Garza, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Hockley, Howard, Hutchinson, Jones, Kent, King, Knox, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Runnels, Scurry, Shackelford, Sherman, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Taylor, Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Yoakum and Young.

American Patrols is an aerial patrol company covering the Permian Basin and Lea and Eddy counties in New Mexico.

“We have 26 airplanes and we fly around the Permian and we’re looking for leaks. We work for a bunch of oil companies and we help them with leak detection,” Kinsey said.

He added that they fly 16 to 20 airplanes a day.

“We cover the whole Basin and we’re not in every single place every day, but we’re kind of omnidirectional out of here.

A first-generation college graduate, Kinsey went to Canton High School in East Texas and was expected to go to college. He went to Texas A&M after that.

“My story is I was going to go into business, but 9/11 happened my sophomore year and changed my direction. I ended up going into the Air Force as an officer and I spent nine years as an Air Force pilot. I flew C-130s, which is this one right here,” he said pointing to a framed photo on his office wall. “I did 120 combat missions in that, which is the T-1, and then I taught pilot training on that, managed pilot training programs and then taught the instructor course in San Antonio, got out, went back to business school on the East Coast, back to San Antonio and then we moved out here three years ago (and) we bought this company.”

Kinsey holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in finance, both in 2005 from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School (2017).

After graduating from business school in 2017, he ran a commercial real estate company, came to Midland and has been running American Patrols since then.

He and his wife, Katelyn, have three children, Barrett, 5, Charles, 2, and Isabel, 4 months.

He said sometimes the time is right to give back and serve again.

“I look at where we are coming out of pandemic and with all the CRT (critical race theory) and all of the inflammatory subjects that are out there and then we also have the pandemic setting us back a good ways. I feel like it’s time for people my age to step up and take a leadership role and serve our kids because that’s our future,” Kinsey said.

He said State Board of Education would be a great fit for where he is in life and someplace he feels he can make an impact.

Coming out of the election cycle, people were concerned about what they were seeing in education.

“… Parents are not satisfied with the education that kids are receiving. They also don’t want to be told that they shouldn’t participate and so I feel like it’s a good opportunity to hop into a problem that has high impact,” Kinsey said.

He said he thinks you’ll continue to see an increase in parent involvement. “Parents are concerned, much more now than before the pandemic, with what their children are learning, how they’re learning, how well that’s progressing. We all have this experience of sitting at home for at least a month or two (when) pretty much everything was locked down and you had a great opportunity to refocus on your family. I think you’re going to see continued vocalism from parents. You’re going to see engagement. I think they’re going to continue to raise the bar of expectations for our schools. That’s a good thing …,” Kinsey said.

If he’s elected, Kinsey said his goals are to help figure out how to get children caught up educationally.

“Sixty percent of fourth graders can’t read or write a level right now. If you do the math, and you think about the long distance-only schooling that we were doing, or the Zoom-only schooling, set children back and we haven’t even gotten into the social development issues that they’re going to see. So we have a lot of catching up to do there. I think additionally we have a lot of opportunities to leverage technology. Everything about Zoom is not that bad. We learned what we didn’t like about it. But there are probably ways that we can leverage those technologies to create more opportunities for people, as well,” Kinsey said.

In smaller districts, technology can be used to tap into resources from other school districts and have the chance to learn from top-notch professors.

College may not be the answer for everyone, he said, but continued, equality education and good return on the money being invested in the next generation is going to set the country up for success.

He stressed the importance of education bringing people together. You also need a baseline of skills to communicate.

Kinsey has never run for office before.

The board meets about five times a year in Austin.

“Sometimes we actually need people who aren’t in the system to come from the outside and look at the system and say why are we doing it like this? Couldn’t we be doing this a different way,” he said.

Having just started to meet people, Kinsey was at the Ector County Republican Women meeting recently and appeared at a Midland meeting the week before.

The Texas Education The State Board of Education sets policies and standards for Texas public schools.

There are 15 state Board of Education members who are elected by Texans to four year terms of office. Each member represents about 1.8 million Texans, the Texas Education Agency website said.

The governor appoints one member to chair the board. The primary responsibilities of the SBOE include.

>> Setting curriculum standards.

>> Reviewing and adopting instructional materials.

>> Establishing graduation requirement.

>> Overseeing the Texas Permanent School Fund.

>> Appointing board members to military reservation and special school districts.

>> Providing final review of rules proposed by the State Board for Educator Certification.

>> Reviewing the commissioner’s proposed award of new charter schools, with authority to veto a recommended applicant.