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 9

Incumbent?

Yes.

Link to campaign website:

https://joejesseaccd.com/

Age:

72

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

Attended Edgewood ISD in schools in San Antonio, TX (JFK grad 1967).

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?

SAC, St. Mary’s University (BA 1973 ), OLLU (MEd 1981) Also did graduate work at UTSA and Texas A&M, College Station.

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

Retired in 2018 after 45 years in education.

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.

N/A

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

I understand and have been a practitioner in educational settings for 45 years. I believe that educational policies, goals, and practices are successful only when students are successful. As an educator, I held positions as teacher, High School Principal, Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Juvenile Probation Administrator. I was also an adjunct professor in the College of Education at Texas A&I, Kingsville and Texas A&M, Kingsville.

I am fully aware of a Trustee’s fiduciary responsibilities, and Governance boundaries. I have the institutional knowledge which negates a transition period. I can maintain the Board’s current momentum of student success with a pragmatic Chancellor, Board consensus, student-centered initiatives, faculty performance and satisfaction, and cohesiveness and successes amongst all the 5 colleges.

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

Support the initiative of remote learning and teaching should the current pandemic deem it necessary.

Bring the AlamoPROMISE Program to full scope.

Reduce the number of credit hours for students to complete degree plan; therefore, reducing the time and expense needed to complete a degree. Many of our native students are achieving the goal of bringing their degree completion hours to the mid 60’s.

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

Augment the current student advocacy network of wrap-around services. These services have been institutionalized, but students continue to face housing and food insecurities and even homelessness that needs to be continually addressed.

Continue to work with the City and County in conjunction with business and workforce organizations by providing workforce training programs that will earn students a certificate to start or improve career opportunities in critical areas of need such as health, technology, and manufacturing.

Work with the Texas Legislature to create Veterans’ Centers at all of the colleges. The Alamo Colleges serves about 8000 veterans.

Expand the dual credit and early college programs with our school district partners in order to better prepare high school students to transfer to 4 year institutions.

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?

The selection of Dr. Mike Flores as Chancellor as he has been a transformational leader that is data informed, brings positive cohesiveness amongst the Alamo Colleges District with its colleges, faculty, and staff. He has maintained a positive local and national visibility and has articulated the Alamo Colleges District’s programming to public and private entities.

Institutionalizing the Student Advocacy Network-every college has a student advocacy department that provides needed wrap-around services to students.

AlamoPROMISE – the program will provide access and opportunity to high school graduates to higher education and/or certificate programs. Upon graduation students will be able to enroll in a 4 year university or enter a career in critical areas of need.

Provide talent support by investing in our faculty and staff in order to retain our top talent, attract top quality candidates, and remain competitive in our hiring.

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

N/A

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

The Alamo Colleges District had adopted an emergency plan with different tiers contingent on the spread of COVID-19. In March 2020, spring break was extended by one week to allow for training and informing students of remote teaching and learning modalities. 6000 classes were converted to online format, almost 2000 staff were trained by the end of March and almost another 2000 by the end of May. Advisors held 64,000 student appointments. $10 million of institutional monies from savings related to the pandemic and online instruction was diverted to the “Keep Learning Plan” for students. $300 award via CARES Act to eligible students. Work study students received lump sum payments, emergency grant aid was created, laptops made available for checkout with access to hotspots, and a credit/no credit option given to students. All this without furloughs or layoffs. As a result, the Alamo Colleges District was awarded the SA Business Journal’s Resilience in Business Award.

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

The budget for this current school year is set and there are no expected cutbacks or shortages. For the next budget year, which includes the Texas Legislative session, we are planning for a possible 5% cut in state revenues. Tax revenues and tuition revenues are expected to be at least flat. We plan to make up the difference with our healthy District fund balance and a hiring freeze as salaries and benefits make the majority of the District’s expenses.

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

The District has developed a very robust advisory program that can assess the students’ academic needs. The District’s “Keep Learning Plan” provided tuition-free summer school to almost 14,000 eligible students. An enrollment coach model has been implemented to assist students by providing support during the preregistration process. In addition, AlamoPROMISE has a Summer Bridge Program that was offered to students to help ensure student readiness for the rigor of related college level courses.

San Antonio Report Staff

San Antonio Report Staff

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