Education News

Longtime HISD Trustee Manuel Rodriguez Dies

Rodriguez was first elected to the HISD board of trustees in 2003 and represented the southeast part of the school district, including Chavez and Milby high schools.

Manuel Rodriguez was first elected to the HISD board of trustees in 2003.
Manuel Rodriguez was first elected to the HISD board of trustees in 2003.

Long-serving HISD Trustee Manuel Rodriguez, Jr. passed away Wednesday morning from a massive heart attack, according to an announcement at City Hall.

HISD Trustee Jolanda Jones expressed her condolences on social media, posting “it was a pleasure” to serve with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was first elected to the HISD board of trustees more than ten years ago in 2003. He represented HISD District Three, which covers the southeast part of the Houston and includes Chavez and Milby high schools.

“He was definitely a student advocate and he definitely believed in the families, the businesses and the students of the east side. He was always advocating and making sure they had what they needed to be successful,” said Rene Sanchez, principal at Chavez High.

Rodriguez attended HISD himself and graduated from Austin High school in 1970. He worked as a computer specialist in the United States Air Force in the 1970’s and later started a corporation dedicated to education, housing and community involvement.

A recognized leader in Houston’s East End, Rodriguez was inducted into the National Hispanic Institute Hall of Fame in 2013.

“He was a go-getter. He was somebody that actually looked out for the community and looked out for the interests of our children,” said Houston City Council Member Robert Gallegos, whose area overlapped with Rodriguez’ district. “With all that’s going on with regards to issues at HISD and school reform in Austin and what have you, it’s a terrible time to lose someone like this. Again, my condolences and prayers go out to the family.”

There were already five seats on the HISD board scheduled for elections this November. Rodriguez’ passing will mean a sixth seat on the nine-person board will up for a special election or a board appointment. It’s not clear when that will be scheduled.

In a statement, HISD expressed “heartfelt condolences to Rodriguez’s family” and said that services are pending.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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