Harlingen school board scores best in state

HARLINGEN — They’re the best in the state, and everyone knows it.

The Texas Association of School Administrators has just named the Harlingen CISD Board of Trustees the best in the state.

Everyone’s talking about it, especially Superintendent Art Cavazos, who nominated the board for the recognition.

“The board’s governance has allowed us to provide students with a greater access to a world-class education that sparks creativity and discovery both inside and outside classrooms,” he said. “They have learned from and challenged one another so that equitable and high-impact decisions are made, and I am honored to have a seat among them.”

Since the board approved the Strategic Plan five years ago, the district has implemented numerous “academies” such as the World Languages Academy at Vernon Middle School and the STEM Squared Academy. These and other academies and programs give students the chance to have authentic learning experiences. Students can now get certified for such things as EMT, enabling them to obtain higher-than-entry level jobs straight out of high school. Just this year, the district opened the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.

The Harlingen school board earned this distinction out of more than 1,200 school districts throughout the state. It was chosen from among five finalists who were interviewed by a committee of Texas school superintendents, stated a release from the district.

“The committee’s decision was based on several criteria, including the board’s support for educational performance, educational improvement projects and school transformation initiatives,” stated the release.

The committee also looked at a district’s commitment to a code of ethics and placement of the welfare of children served by the school system above other motives.

The people who really deserve recognition are the district’s students, teachers and employees, said School Board President Dr. Nolan Perez.

“We have an incredible community that always comes together to support our district, and it’s because of their support an incredible transformation has taken place at HCISD,” Perez said.

This recognition shows the effect of teamwork, said School Board Vice President Eladio Jaimes.

“This recognition is a reflection of the work we do as a team of eight and of the tremendous and unwavering support by our community,” he said.

The TASA committee was impressed by the board’s collective “heart for people, service mentality, and passion for results,” stated the release.

“The Harlingen CISD Board of Trustees knows that the public’s perception of the district and of public education in general begins with them,” said Robin Ryan, superintendent of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and chair of the TASA School Board Awards Committee.

“They take their job as ambassadors for Texas public schools seriously,” Ryan said.

Cavazos seconded this sentiment.

“I am extremely proud of our board of trustees who keep children at the core of their decision making and governance,” he said. “Their heart for people and commitment to excellence has created a culture of innovation and choice for HCISD.”

You Should Know

TASA is the professional association for Texas school superintendents and other administrators. The mission of the organization, which focuses on professional learning, advocacy and member engagement, is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students.

The Harlingen school district has 18,600 students enrolled.