To inform readers about the candidates seeking their votes on the November ballot, the San Antonio Report asked all candidates to answer the following questions. We edited answers for clarity, not substance or grammar, and we did not fact-check responses. We restricted responses to 200 words for each question.

Read other candidates’ answers here.

Position sought:

Alamo Colleges, District 4

Incumbent?

No.

Link to campaign website:

N/A

Age:

71

What is your educational background? Where did you go to school growing up and what is the highest level of education you completed?

1967 Graduate – Louis W. Fox Vocational & Technical High School
1970 Steno Certification – Community Business College
1986 Certification – Texas A&M Engineering Extension School
2002 Certification – Management Leadership Institute, City of San Antonio

If you have completed higher education, what degrees or certifications have you earned and from where? In what years did you complete these degrees or certifications?

1967 Graduate – Louis W. Fox Vocational & Technical High School
1970 Steno Certification – Community Business College
1986 Certification – Texas A&M Engineering Extension School
2002 Certification – Management Leadership Institute, City of San Antonio

What is your current occupation, employer, and job title?

2010 – Retiree – Valero Energy Corporation, Executive Assistant to Chief Financial Officer

List any previous elected offices that you held and the term you held that office. List any elected offices you sought and the years you sought those offices.

South San Antonio Independent School District, Board of Trustees
1998 – 2001 – Secretary/Vice-President
2001 – 2004 – Secretary/President
2004 – 2008 – Trustee
2008 – 2012 – President
2012 – 2014 – Secretary
2014 – 2015 – President
2016 – 2020 – President
2020 – Present – Trustee

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?

I have had the privilege of serving my community on the Board of Trustees of a Public School System for the past 23 years. In my capacity as an elected leader, I have had fiduciary responsibility of a Budget in excess of $75 Million. As a Trustee, I am directly responsible to the taxpayers. I feel my experience, with collaboration of the Superintendent, in times of funding shortages, as well as, budget surpluses has given me the experience needed to step in as an ACCD Trustee without a learning curve. My priorities are and have always been the success of students. School systems and Colleges have all had to deal with the challenge of COVID-19 and how to keep our students, teachers and staff safe while trying to incorporate a limited learning environment. I am proud to say that while serving on the Budget Committee, alongside the Superintendent, the district approved a Balanced Budget along with a surplus for the 2020-2021 school year. I have also served on Bond Committees, provided oversight in the opening of new schools and the recent successful re-opening of three of our closed campuses. Careful planning in the re-opening of schools resulted in the school district maintaining a healthy fund balance.

What three issues do you feel are most important to your constituents?

First, we must continue to serve our students whether in-person, as permitted, or by distance learning. We should provide our teaching staff with every tool necessary to accomplish their jobs. We need to employ every safety protocol for both staff and students. Second, the Board of Trustees needs to carefully examine our budget and project any shortfall that may have been caused during COVID-19. Third, hopefully, with the passage of the Workforce Development Proposition, we should begin the planning on how we need to service potentially 40K students in job training classes.

If you are elected, what will be your top priorities once you take office?

My top priorities are to ensure the safety of our returning students, teachers and staff. Also, to secure the sustainability of Alamo Promise, the Keep Learning Plan and the COVID-19 Student Impact Plan. The Goal should be to keep our students engaged in school and help them succeed in any learning endeavor.

For incumbents: What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time in office? Is there any vote or decision you would change now looking back?

N/A

For non-incumbents: Would you do anything differently from the current representative holding the office you’re seeking?

No. Chairman Casillas fully supports the Chancellor. From my external view, I believe the Chancellor is responsive to students, the Chancellor is responsive to staff and the Chancellor is responsive to the Community. It is also my impression that he is very innovative. However, if elected, I do intend to ask questions. Being a “rubber stamp” does not bode well for the Community I intend to represent. I expect the Board of Trustees to be transparent and seek accountability. Above all, we should accept responsibility for the good, as well as, the bad.

How do you assess your community college district or school district’s performance during the pandemic and the way it served students?

The Chancellor and his staff have done a phenomenal job in reaching out to the 60,000 students to assist in the transition of remote learning. Wi-Fi hot spots were created in parking lots for students along with loaner laptops. I commend the staff for going that extra mile to provide tutoring outside of their normal duty hours to get the students on track and extending the deadline to students lagging in tuition payments, as well as offering a payment plan.

How will you approach budgeting for your district given the economic uncertainties? What are your budget priorities you would want to keep intact?

Budgeting uncertainties is affecting all school systems. Alamo Colleges is no different. However, ever increasing property values should yield sufficient revenues in order to operate. The Alamo Promise program is particularly important to me. As a school district trustee, I see first-hand what potential it has for our high school seniors. We must insure that the Alamo Promise program is viable and sustainable. I do believe we can do a better job at securing additional private sector funding in order to serve the projected students we expect to enroll through the Alamo Promise program.

How do you plan to work to overcome academic gaps that may have developed or widened during the pandemic?

There is no substitute for in-person learning/teaching. Most educators agree that there will be a “learning gap” in this year’s cohort. The Board of Trustees in collaboration with the Chancellor and his staff should work together to come up with a strategy to help those students that are struggling due to the COVID-19. Offering make-up classes during the evening/weekend for those who have fallen into that learning gap or who need the assistance to retrieve missed learning blocks. Perhaps, tutorial staff should be identified and assigned to those students that require the additional help.

San Antonio Report Staff

San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.