District 6 trustee Christina Martinez.
SAISD trustee Christina Martinez (D6) is the newly elected president of the board. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

After her fellow board members voted to make her the new San Antonio Independent School District board president Monday, District 6 trustee Christina Martinez said she has “big shoes to fill” succeeding Patti Radle.

“What size do you wear?” Radle responded as laughter erupted around the boardroom.

The SAISD board elected new officers at its Monday meeting, two weeks after Radle announced at a budget workshop that she would resign as board president. She served as board president for six years and will remain on the board as the District 5 trustee.

Radle nominated Martinez to succeed her as board president, in addition to proposing that District 2 trustee Alicia Sebastian-Perry fill the role of vice president and that District 4 trustee Arthur Valdez should serve as secretary. The board unanimously voted to approve Radle’s proposal. District 3 trustee Leticia Ozuna was absent.

Martinez has served on the board since 2017, when trustees appointed her to fill an unexpired term. She thanked her fellow board members for their support in making her president on Monday.

“I’m happy to rise to the occasion and to continue to work with all of you and to work in service of all of you,” Martinez said.

District 7 trustee Ed Garza thanked Radle for her service as board president, a role he held before Radle. He said she helped lead the district and the board through the pandemic.

“Your leadership was at the right place at the right time,” he said. “It’s been wonderful to see you take a stand when you need to and to bring calm when there was a storm.”

Radle said in a previous interview that she believes Martinez should serve as president on the school board because of her experience working with parents and children at Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, where Martinez serves as vice president of external relations. As a mother of two, Martinez lends an invaluable perspective to the board, Radle said.

Martinez has worked at nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years, including San Antonio Youth Literacy and Girl Scouts. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her term expires in 2023.

First elected to the board in 2011, Radle has served as president since 2015, the year the school board hired Pedro Martinez as superintendent. As board president, Radle has worked closely with the superintendent, whom many credit with turning around SAISD and garnering an improved state accountability rating.

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.