San Antonio Independent School District board President Patti Radle announced Monday she is stepping down from that position to refocus on the community she represents and the nonprofit she and her husband run.

Radle, 73, announced her decision to relinquish the role of board president at Monday’s board budget workshop, where she also voiced her support to name District 6 trustee Christina Martinez as her successor. Radle will continue to serve on the school board as the District 5 trustee.

“I want to announce tonight that I will not be seeking reelection as president of the board,” Radle said at the closing of the SAISD’s Monday meeting. “I am still serving on the board, … but six years being president, I think we want to nurture someone new.”

In an interview with the San Antonio Report last week, Radle said she is eager to reconnect with the District 5 community and Inner City Development, the nonprofit she and her husband, Rod, started in 1971. The organization serves the residents of the West Side, particularly those who live in the Alazán-Apache public housing project.

“I hope to really strengthen my connections with the community,” she said. “The presidency of the board takes up a lot of time, and I have felt like I haven’t been able to necessarily be at my schools as often as I used to.”

But it’s also time for a change, Radle said. While she will remain involved with the school board and Inner City, Radle said it is time to prepare both groups for new leadership. She believes District 6’s Martinez should replace her as president on the school board because of her experience working with parents and children through her work at Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, where Martinez serves as vice president of external relations. Radle said Martinez lends a parent’s perspective to the board, which she believes is invaluable.

“She’s a strong person who listens very well to others, regardless of what their positions might be, but she’s a person who makes up her own mind about things,” Radle said. “She’s influenced by the commitment to do good, not necessarily by what others want her to do.”

Martinez has looked up to Radle since she was young – long before the school board appointed her to fill an unexpired term in 2017. Radle met Martinez at Inner City when Martinez was in high school, and they reconnected more than 20 years later when Martinez joined the school board. Radle said stepping down as president now will put her in a position to help mentor Martinez or whoever trustees select as board president. Trustees will vote for board president, vice president, and secretary at the June 21 meeting.

Martinez told the San Antonio Report shortly after the meeting that she is honored to be Radle’s pick.

“I had an idea she might say something tonight, but I wasn’t sure,” Martinez said. “She’s my true role model, and I’m glad to know that if I do become president she will be around for two more years to help me with that transition.”

Radle has been a steadfast leader for the board for the past six years, SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said, adding that Christina Martinez would do an excellent job if she becomes president.

“Trustee Martinez has really brought the parent voice to our board and helped us make such big strides since day one,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her in this role.”

At Inner City, Radle and her husband plan to stay in their roles as volunteer directors over the next several years as the nonprofit selects new leadership. Then they will mentor the new director for at least a year, but they plan to remain involved with the volunteer programs for a long time.

“We’re not going anywhere,” she said.

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 leading to an improved rating of the district by the state.

Radle taught elementary school in SAISD for 12 years. She also served on the San Antonio City Council from 2003 to 2007.

Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum is the San Antonio Report's education reporter.

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett is the general assignment reporter for the San Antonio Report.