Election Q&A: Get to know Frank Juarez and Esperanza Orosco, candidates for Hays CISD board of trustees District 5

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With the May 4 elections just weeks away, two candidates are campaigning for the single-member Hays CISD District 5 board of trustees seat: incumbent Esperanza Orosco and challenger Frank Juarez Jr.

Early voting beings April 22. For a map of District 5, polling locations and more information, check out the Hays CISD election page.

Candidates are listed in the order in which their names will appear on the ballot.

Esperanza Orosco

Esperanza Orosco

Why are you running?

I am running for re-election because it is important to have knowledgeable persons serving who have a consistent record of support and commitment to this community. My commitment to improving our district means I am invested and involved in what happens here; I make time to volunteer with organizations that enhance the quality of life of our students and their families.

What is your experience with public education?

I was a bilingual teacher for over 10 years in Hays CISD and served as president of Hays Educators Association, the affiliate of TSTA [Texas State Teachers Association]. I served on committees, including student transfer committee, campus leadership teams, as dual-language chair and many more. I also served on the board of Texas Association of Bilingual Education. Prior to my election, I attended over 200 board meetings. As a teacher and member of the community, I have advocated for our students and teachers for over 18 years.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the district?
In recent years, our educational programs have not proven as successful as I believe they have the potential to be. With a new superintendent and leadership team, we are attempting to build upon the strengths of our programs by utilizing the expertise and experience of our talented staff.

What has the district done well over the last five years? What could it have done better?
Under [Superintendent] Dr. [Eric] Wright’s leadership, we have empowered our highly motivated and qualified employees to become involved in shaping our district’s future. Our district lacked systems which did not allow us to make needed gains. It is imperative that we challenge the status quo and make the necessary changes for us to reach our goals. We all struggle with change, but true leaders have the integrity, humility and tenacity to see these changes through.

If elected, what would be your top priorities?
I will continue collaborating with our board and superintendent to ensure we close achievement and opportunity gaps for all students. I will continue my focus on removing barriers for our students and providing enrichment opportunities. Student achievement is paramount; we must strengthen our programs in the areas of gifted and talented, bilingual, STEM, dual credit, AP, just to name a few. We understand that there is always room for improvement. We need to take what we have done well and build on that.

Website: www.facebook.com/EsperanzaOroscoforHaysCISDBOTD5

Frank Juarez Jr.

Frank Juarez Jr.

Why are you running?
I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to the members of our diverse education community—parents, teachers, staff, administration and our most important members—our students. We must focus on the needs of our children and encourage fairness in educational opportunity, unity and open communication. A school board must focus on the needs of our educational community. To accomplish this, it takes leadership, education experience and long-term vision.

What is your experience with public education?
I have over 20 years of education to include—substitute teaching, teaching assistant/paraprofessional in special education, government, Spanish [bilingual], technology, CTE [career technical education]-criminal justice, postsecondary education administration [junior college]. I’ve also served on the Bexar County Charter Schools CTE Advisory Board, PTSA [parent/teacher/student association]/PTO-teacher-student liaison, industrial-vocational and CTSO [Career and Technical Student Organization] advisory boards, SkillsUSA manager and 13 years as a SBOE [State Board of Education] certified CTE-criminal teacher. I served over 15 years as an education officer and instructor for the Armed Forces and public safety.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the district?
Improvement of existing buildings in a fiscally responsible manner. And the board needs to ensure it continues to retain and attract quality teachers.

What has the district done well over the last five years? What could it have done better?
Over the past five years, our school board has achieved favorable state education mandates on assessments and accountability while it continues to improve thanks to our dedicated teachers, support staff and administrators. The construction of a new high school, although it increased the tax rate, was applied to the needs for student achievement. It has recruited excellent teachers, administrators and support staff, thus enhancing student learning while preparing them for the workforce and advanced education.

If elected, what would be your top priorities?
My top priorities are working for common goals for our children. We will rebuild trust and unity among our stakeholders. Let’s all increase safety for all students on every campus and continue to build up our bilingual programs. It’s my perspective that a school board must work towards adjustment to cultural diversity and social change, while exhibiting strengths with leadership, decision making, structure, workforce and cohesiveness. “United we can make a difference;” “Unidos Podemos hacer la diferencia.”

Website: www.facebook.com/frank.juarez.144734

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Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publications in New York City before she moved to Texas, and has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Texas-Austin.
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