Voters may have a hard time finding daylight between Fort Worth ISD trustee candidates CJ Evans and Kevin Lynch.

The pair  — plus candidate Josh Yoder — are vying to represent parts of west Fort Worth ISD in the District 5 seat on the school board. 

Evans, a first-term incumbent, and Lynch are campaigning on similar platforms of academic excellence and smarter budgeting. Yoder shares many of those same issues, but also focuses on more parental engagement.

Turning around declining enrollment? The trio agreed the solution lies in improving student outcomes.

Dealing with a growing deficit? All three want to push for a balanced budget.

Controversial statewide issues, such as book bans? Evans and Lynch agreed their focus should be on Fort Worth ISD, while Yoder supported lawmakers’ efforts.

Their partisan politics are similar, too. All three voted in the most recent Republican primary, according to the Tarrant County GOP.

Differences between candidates

CJ Evans speaks during a candidate forum on March 30. Evans is up for re-election in Fort Worth ISD school board District 5. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

The lack of differences wasn’t lost on Evans, a lawyer. She pointed to her more than 15 years living in Fort Worth ISD as bolstering her credentials. 

Before her election in 2019, Evans served in parent-teacher associations, including as a top PTA leader in the district; the site-based committee for Como Leadership Academy; and Fort Worth ISD’s district advisory committee.

“My depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in Fort Worth ISD prior to me even running four years ago outweighs my opponents’ combined experience,” Evans, 45, said.

Fort Worth ISD school board District 5 candidate Kevin Lynch addresses the community during a candidate forum on March 30. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Lynch, 42, moved into Fort Worth ISD about five years ago from Birmingham, Alabama. However, Lynch and his wife enrolled their children in the district and, as he described it, hit the ground running and became involved in their schools. 

Lynch, a medical device salesman, served in the parent-teacher associations at Tanglewood Elementary and McLean Middle School; a site-based decision making committee; and is a current member of the 2021 bond citizen overight committee.

“The thing that stands out for me is leadership. I’m a doer and I have a business background that allows me to get things done,” Lynch said.

Fort Worth ISD school board District 5 candidate Josh Yoder speaks during a candidate forum March 30. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Yoder, 35, has lived in Fort Worth his entire life. He attended All Saints Catholic School. His two daughters currently attend Fort Worth ISD schools. However, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he withdrew his oldest daughter from Fort Worth ISD and enrolled her in Great Hearts Arlington because the charter school did not have a mask mandate, he said.

Evans acted as a rubber stamp for Fort Worth ISD administration, Yoder said. As a result, the district’s academics, finances and enrollment have suffered, he said. Yoder pointed to his work as a managing director for Level Four Insurance as the right experience to be on the school board.

“I do believe that my ability to identify a plan, gather buy-in from constituents and the administration, then get buy-in for implementation and then monitor after are skills that are learned over time. I do not believe any of the trustees in there currently or most candidates have those abilities,” Yoder said.

Runoff a possibility

The three candidates are preparing for a possible runoff election. 

After he announced his campaign, Yoder said he received a phone call from Lynch. Their similarities led Lynch to hint at backing his campaign in a unified front against Evans, Yoder said.

“I said, ‘Kevin, do you know what a runoff is? If we’re going to beat CJ, your best bet is a runoff,’” Yoder told the Fort Worth Report.

Lynch has garnered some significant support in his bid. He has raised $38,649 since entering the race, according to his campaign finance reports.

He earned the endorsements of former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the United Educators Association. 

He also has the backing of former District 5 trustee Judy Needham’s Great City Great Schools political action committee, which recently donated $10,000 to his campaign. Needham was on the school board for more than 20 years.

While money and endorsements are important, Lynch said, he plans to be himself to ensure he either wins the election outright or is in the runoff.

“That’s the same focus that you have to do with everything. Let’s focus on the things that are important, which are academic excellence, fiscal responsibility and community,” Lynch said. “You can only control what you can.”

Evans, who succeeded Needham, started 2023 with $4,760 in her campaign’s savings account. She has since raised $10,225, according to her most recent campaign finance report. 

To either win or get into a runoff, Evans is talking to voters every day, she said.

“In these local municipal elections, especially one like this one where it’s expected to be a low voter turnout, no gathering or meeting or group is too small,” Evans said.

In 2019, 4,334 votes were cast in the District 5 race, according to the Tarrant County Elections Department. Evans beat her opponent by 620 votes.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

Creative Commons License

Noncommercial entities may republish our articles for free by following our guidelines. For commercial licensing, please email

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His work has appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram, The Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer. He is a graduate of St. Edward’s University....