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Three state officials are calling for a member of Edgewood ISD's board of trustees to step down. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

A fully elected board now governs Edgewood Independent School District for the first time since mid-2016, when the Texas Education Agency intervened in the Westside district for governance issues that left trustees deadlocked on important issues like hiring a superintendent and filling a board vacancy.

On Tuesday night, trustees Dina Serrano and Luis Gomez took their oaths of office to sit on the governing board, joining trustees Stella Camacho, Timothy Payne, Martha Castilla, Joseph Guerra, and James Hernandez.

Serrano and Gomez were elected in November 2018, but had to wait their turn to cycle onto the board, in line with TEA’s prescribed transition process from an appointed board of five to an elected board of seven. As part of that process, the last two members of the TEA-appointed board of managers, Frank Espinosa and Roy Soto, will cycle off the board.

“Those of you who have served with me and the two who begin today, you’re outstanding individuals and I leave Edgewood in very good hands,” Soto said.

Soto will transition into the role of conservator for the board, replacing Sharon Doughty who held that role since last May. He will work with trustees and guide them on governance, financial management, and contracting laws. Previously, TEA officials described the work of a conservator guiding a transitioning board as “light touch” with the job of streamlining the transition.

Espinosa and Soto served as the board’s vice president and president, respectively. With the officer positions open, the now-complete board voted to name Castilla the board’s president and Serrano as vice president.

Since 2016, Edgewood ISD has seen significant changes to its governance. The board of managers brought stability to the district, often voting together and supporting the superintendent’s vision for Edgewood’s future.

At first, that superintendent was Emilio Castro, who came to the district in November 2016. But after an investigation into harassment allegations made against Castro, he resigned. The board named Eduardo Hernández as Castro’s replacement in May 2018.

With Hernández at the helm, Edgewood ISD implemented a number of new initiatives, the biggest being an ambitious plan to transform each campus with a new school model and allow families to shop the district for the campus that best fits their student.

A fully elected board is a notable achievement for both Edgewood and the city of San Antonio, where some schools systems have been dogged in recent years by the frequent presence of state intervention or investigation.

South San Antonio ISD is in the middle of a state investigation into purchasing and procurement practices.

Southside ISD is currently governed by a board of managers but began the transition to an elected board last week. At last Thursday’s meeting, two new trustees joined the Southside ISD board: Katie Farias and Maggie Morales, who were elected last May. In a year, three more trustees will join the board, and by May 2022, the district will be governed by a board of seven trustees.

Last summer, Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath decided nearby Harlandale ISD should also receive a board of managers but backpedaled on his decision earlier this year, instead ordering the installation of a conservator. A conservator is deemed a lesser intervention, but the role retains the power to override board votes.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.