SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez speaks during a board meeting. Photo by Scott Ball.
SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez will deliver a “State of the SAISD” address at a San Antonio Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday. The event has been moved to Pearl Stable from The Depot at Sunset Station to accommodate the growing crowd of ticket buyers.

The event begins at 7:30am. Click here for tickets.

Martinez said that in his former position in Reno, Nev., delivering a state of the school district address to the chambers of commerce was standard practice. The last SAISD superintendent to address the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce was Dr. Robert Durón in January 2010.

With an increased focus on community involvement in education over the last six years, Martinez and President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Richard Perez felt that the time was right to strike up the conversation between the city’s business community and it’s largest inner city school district.

President and CEO of the SACC Richard Perez speaks at a luncheon featuring Joaquin Castro. Photo by Scott Ball.
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez. Photo by Scott Ball.

“With the passage of House Bill 5 during the 2013 Legislative Session, the legislature developed guidelines for businesses to become more engaged in our students’ education, particularly during the high school years,” Perez said. “Because of this, the Chamber has been working to connect the business community with our educational partners, through SA Works, to ensure San Antonio’s students and families are aware of possible career paths and how they can attain them.” 

Martinez hopes that engaging the business community will encourage them to participate in the bold changes he hopes to see in the district. He hopes that business leaders will become advocates for progress as Martinez and the SAISD board of trustees take needed, but sometimes painful, steps toward their goals.

“We’re going to have tough decisions and tough conversations,” Martinez said.

Martinez also plans to discuss the upcoming roll out of new magnet programs. The business community has an opportunity to provide key resources for these programs in particular. Job shadowing programs can help students see what their area of specialty — such as engineering, communication, and many others — looks like in day-to-day life.

As optimistic as Martinez tends to be about the future of SAISD, he is well aware of his need for support from across the community.

“We need both the civic and business communities behind us,” Martinez said.

Martinez felt that this was the ideal time to address the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, as his administration moves into the next phase of their ambitious “five year goals” rolled out in a series of town hall meetings across the district last semester.

“During these presentations it became clear that the business community’s involvement in the strategic planning and implementation of this plan would be crucial to its success,” Perez said.

Now, with their visions laid out for parents, teachers, and the community at large, Martinez is ready to discuss strategies. The breakfast with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce marks the first steps into a new phase with increased activity.

With many avenues and opportunities to participate, the conversation could be vigorous and inspiring. Both SAISD and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce are eager to explore for the benefit of San Antonio’s students.

“Superintendent Martinez’s proposed strategies are bold and necessary in order to ensure progress is made for the nearly 54,000 students in SAISD schools, and the business community is poised to assist him with his vision for greater engagement through experiential learning opportunities for his students,” Perez said.

*Top Image: SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez speaks during a board meeting.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.