27SAN BENITO — Eight months after resigning as Brownsville ISD’s superintendent, Esperanza Zendejas is taking over as the San Benito school district’s human resources director.
Zendejas, who was hired at a salary of $98,493, will replace Henry Sanchez, now principal at Gateway to Graduation Academy.
“I am appreciative of the opportunity to join the San Benito CISD team!” Zendejas stated. “As the director of human resources, I look forward to working with a fine team of employees.”
Superintendent Nate Carman called Zendejas “a tremendous asset” to the district.
“We are thrilled to be able to hire a director of human resources with the wealth of knowledge and quality administrative experience that Dr. Zendejas possesses,” Carman stated. “We believe she will be a tremendous asset to this department and our district as we strive to be the gold standard in all areas of public education.”
Zendejas, who first served as Brownsville’s superintendent from 1992-1995, returned to the district’s top administrative position in June 2015.
Last October, the Brownsville school board gave her a two-year contract extension that boosted her annual salary to $305,000.
In January, board members voted 7-0 to place Zendejas on paid administrative leave amid an inquiry into what she said involved projects during a drive to upgrade facilities across the district.
“We want to assure all BISD students, parents and employees that the quality work taking place throughout the district will go on as usual and any changes to the current situation will be shared immediately with all stakeholders,” BISD board President Minerva M. Peña said in a statement after the January meeting.
After the three-hour meeting, Zendejas said, “I’m sorry that the district has to go through this.”
Later she added, “I am going to fully cooperate with the board’s wishes as they conduct an investigation on facility projects. I am at peace because everything we have done has been on behalf of the students.”
Then in February, Zendejas resigned following a school board meeting that stretched into the early morning hours before the two parties stated they had reached an agreement allowing Zendejas to pursue other interests while permitting the board to hire a new superintendent.
“The board and Dr. Zendejas have entered into the agreement believing it is in their respective best interests and in the best interests of the district,” the two parties stated.
Zendejas holds a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, a master’s degree from the University of San Diego and a doctorate in administration and policy analysis from Stanford University.
She began her educational career as a middle school classroom teacher in 1975, going on to serve as a teacher, school principal, program administrator, and school superintendent.
Zendejas is a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and the author of three books.