For the first time in three years, the San Antonio Report will hold the 2022 San Antonio Regional Education Forum in person on Tuesday at the Witte Museum.

The forum, which pivoted to a virtual format for the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, starts at 9 a.m. with a VIP breakfast panel — “The Post-Pandemic Challenges Facing Bexar County Public School Leaders” — moderated by Education Reporter Brooke Crum.

A luncheon panel will follow on the same topic at 11 a.m., moderated by Robert Rivard, the Report’s co-founder. Guests may begin checking in at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets to the luncheon cost $75 and are available at eventbrite.com

Communities In Schools CEO Rey Saldaña will deliver a keynote address at the luncheon, following the presentation of the 2022 Education Champion Award. Past winners of the award include H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt, Teach for America Chief People Officer Laura Saldivar Luna, and former San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez and District 5 SAISD trustee Patti Radle, who were joint winners.

Local schools leaders will discuss the myriad issues public schools are contending with as COVID-19 cases have fallen, allowing students and teachers to return to classrooms. School districts have struggled to get all their students back, seeing attendance rates sometimes dip below 80%.

With state funding tied to average daily attendance rates, this chronic absenteeism brought budget concerns for school officials, despite temporary funding relief provided by state leaders. Simultaneously, schools are facing staff shortages, from teachers to substitutes to bus drivers.

“You do not have to have school-age children to appreciate the enormous challenges our public school educators face as we emerge from the pandemic and two years of learning loss,” Rivard said. “Tuesday’s education forum gives educators, the nonprofit community, civic and business leaders the opportunity to come together in person to address the challenges and opportunities we face in Bexar County.”

The breakfast panel will feature Judson Independent School District Superintendent Jeanette Ball, East Central ISD Superintendent Roland Toscano, Texas Association of School Administrators Executive Director Kevin Brown and The Holdsworth Center President Lindsay Whorton. The Holdsworth Center is an education leadership development center located in Austin.

The luncheon panel will feature Marisa B. Pérez-Díaz, State Board of Education District 3 representative; Ericka Olivarez, CAST Teach High School principal; Jordana Barton-García of Barton-García Advisors; and Inga Cotton, founder and executive director of San Antonio Charter Moms.

This story has been updated to correctly identify the participants in the luncheon panel.

San Antonio Report Staff

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