LYFORD — Superintendent Eduardo Infante starts his 11th year with the school district with a contract extension expected to keep him in the position through June 2019.
School board members have given Infante a one-year extension on his three-year contract, making him one of the longest-serving superintendents in the Rio Grande Valley.
“That is a pretty good tenure. I’m blessed,” Infante said. “The board is pleased with the direction we are headed.”
Infante said a raise is pending following his evaluation.
Last year, school board members gave him a 5-percent raise that increased his salary to $133,350.
Since taking the job in 2006, Infante has worked to improve students’ state test scores, school board President Marina Quilantan Rivera said.
As a result, she said, Lyford Elementary School, Lyford Middle School, Lyford High School and the school district met state academic standards last year.
“We still have some work to do,” Quilantan Rivera said. “We’re not happy until we have 100 percent.”
Quilantan Rivera said Infante helped staff the faculty with teachers and administrators who have worked with students to boost test scores.
“It starts with him and everything else trickles down. He sets the bar. He sets the expectations,” she said. “We have an exceptional staff that really cares about our students and that’s a contributing factor for our success.”
Born and raised in Lyford, Infante’s roots drive him to push students to succeed, Quilantan Rivera said.
“He’s a Bulldog. He truly cares of about the district,” she said.
Quilantan Rivera said Infante works with teachers and administrators to meet the challenge of helping students succeed in this district in which about 80 percent come from low-income families.
“A lot come from broken homes, they come from homes where they don’t get a good meal,” she said. “A lot of students look forward to going to school because they receive what they don’t receive at home.”
Infante’s roots have led him to build his long tenure, Quilantan Rivera said.
“His tenure of 10 years speaks loudly about him and I think him staying with us speaks loudly about him,” she said. “This is not just a stepping stone for him. He’s here for the long haul, to roll up his sleeves and get in the trenches.”
A Lyford High School graduate, Infante is the son of former school board member Frank Infante, who served on the board in the early 1970s.
Infante launched his career in Mercedes, starting as a teacher before becoming a principal and then an assistant superintendent.