At the beginning of the campaign, I felt lonely talking about making sure all of our kids leave school college ready or with employable skills, and I was the only one talking about reducing class sizes and putting money in the classroom. But as the campaign has progressed, our message has resonated so much that it is now echoed by other candidates. This is great, because we are having the real conversation about our schools which has been missing for a long time in our community. The conversation has shifted so much that some voters say that it will be okay no matter which two candidates win. I disagree.
As two of the seven candidates move from the campaign to the board, ideas that were embraced by the voters are going to face significant headwinds. Every dollar that is allocated to hire more teachers and lower our student-teacher ratios has to come from somewhere, and there is going to be resistance. Change is hard and it takes a lot more than nice talk. It takes tough decisions, focus, and resolve. That is why this election matters so much. Hiring more teachers takes a complete understanding of our complex budget and the will to overcome the resistance from the vested interests who stand to lose from the teachers’ gains. And it takes leadership to build a consensus around our vision that will withstand attacks from those who want to preserve the status quo.
I am uniquely qualified to move from ideas to action. As an attorney, I have faced tough fights on behalf of my clients and overcome resistance. And I have experience leading groups and building consensus on boards and in business. We can’t take a chance that a candidate will grow into the job, because we cannot afford to be where we are now in three years. There are 7,500 kids in our district today, and if they do not get the education they deserve, our community will stagnate. From day one, the new board has to be singularly focused on getting our schools from good to great, with words and action. That is why I am running and why I am asking for your vote.
Election day is May 9th, but early voting has already started at the Justice Center on Stagecoach Road. I voted yesterday and it was very easy — use the side door to the far left so you don’t have to pass through security. If you live in Martindale or out Ranch Road 12 or out Hunter Road, anywhere that pays property taxes to the school district, you get to vote. Please vote today.
Marissa and I met my Sophomore year at SMHS. Since that day, we have shared our entire lives. When I graduated from high school, Marissa was there. Together, we had three kids and adopted another. The day I finished at UT, Marissa and I moved to Atlanta for my job, together. A couple years later, we moved back to San Marcos for good, together. I couldn’t have accomplished half of the things I have accomplished without Marissa’s support, but more than that, her wisdom, her input, her effort, and her help. She is more than my best supporter, we are a package deal and she is a big reason that you should support me for school board.
Marissa’s grandparents came to San Marcos from the valley so that their children and their children’s children could have a better life. Marissa’s grandmother was the second hispanic educator in SMCISD, and that was no minor challenge. Yet she paved the way for future hispanic teachers and thousands of future hispanic students, not by being a hispanic teacher so much as a teacher who happened to be hispanic. And two of her daughters walked that same road a generation later with Marissa’s mom teaching 30 years at Crockett and Travis, and Marissa’s aunt teaching at Hernandez to this day. Just like every lifelong teacher, they touched so many lives in such a personal, sacrificial way, and the support of Marissa’s family in this election keeps me going.
With all that history, Marissa never felt an expectation that she had to do the same, and she has had the freedom to invest the last 16 years in staying at home with our four children. She does the largest share of the lunch packing, the drop-offs, the homework, the celebrating, and the disciplining, and our four wonderful children are the best testament to what a wonderful mom Marissa is. We have different strengths that compliment each other, and she has been content with what appears to the outside as a supporting role for my job and the areas that I have served. But I couldn’t do any of it without her, and I couldn’t do this election or serve on the school board without her. We are in it together.
My family moved to San Marcos in 1980 when I was four years old, and I attended Crockett, Bowie, Wonderland, Lamar, Goodnight, and SMHS. I have seen the schools from the inside and outside – the old versions and the new ones, and I have spent time in every corner of the district. Everyone grows up somewhere, but I grew up here and it helps me understand the unique challenges and the unique potential of our school system and our community.
In order to move the district forward, a board member needs to understand where we have been. I understand San Marcos. Please read my bio or visit issues to learn more, and I’d love to visit between now and election day to talk about moving the district forward.