After 24 years, South San Antonio Independent School District’s longest-serving trustee, Connie Prado, officially resigned from her position on the school board Wednesday.

Prado announced May 18 that she would be stepping down from the seven-member board at the end of June. The South San board voted to accept her resignation at a meeting Wednesday. Trustees Shirley Ibarra and Gina Villagomez were absent.

Prado has been a mainstay of the South San board, which has for several years drawn scrutiny from the Texas Education Agency for its internal workings and frequent infighting. In November, the agency opened another investigation into the board based on complaints it has interfered with the superintendent’s duties, three months after closing a separate inquiry that resulted in the placement of a state-appointed monitor. Currently, the district is being run by an interim superintendent after the board suspended Superintendent Marc Puig, South San’s eighth superintendent since 2010.

The interim superintendent, Henry Yzaguirre, thanked Prado for her years of service to the school district at the beginning of the meeting.

“You will definitely be missed here at the dais,” he said.

District spokeswoman Alexis Castillo read a brief statement, thanking Prado for her service and dedication to South San, before presenting her with a plaque and a bouquet of flowers. Afterward, the board recessed to eat blue-frosted cupcakes and drink punch.

Board President Ernesto Arrellano Jr. also thanked Prado for her commitment to South San.

“Through the highs and the lows, you’ve been praised and [excoriated] through these years, during your long term on the board,” he said. “Being a trustee, I know that it’s not easy, but it’s rewarding at the same time. So to me, it’s a huge accomplishment to have served our great district for over 24 years.”

Prado’s involvement in the school district dates back to 1995, when she began working as an administrative assistant at Carrillo Elementary School. Voters first elected her to the school board in 1998, when she won the seat her husband, Raul Prado, held until he was elected to City Council. Since then, she has frequently led the board as president.

Her voice full of emotion, Prado said serving as a trustee has been a learning experience, having worked with so many different personalities on both the board and in the school district.

“I’d like to thank the community for all their support for the past 24 years, that they trusted me to be their voice on this board. I can’t thank them enough,” she said.

Prado also thanked the superintendents, administrators and past and fellow board members she’s worked with throughout the years. To trustees, she said: “Thank you for your dedication, your hard work, because it’s not an easy job. And no, we don’t get paid. It would be nice, but we do it because we love the kids. That’s why we’re here. And that’s why we ran for office.”

Dozens of bus drivers and other workers had filled the boardroom to call for raises. Prado recognized the work of bus drivers, groundkeepers, clerical and technical staff, and cafeteria workers.

“They are the backbones of this district, and I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and all your hard work,” she said.

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.