Education News

Houston School Board Elects Diana Dávila As President

The school board is also moving forward with hiring an executive coach, so members can better lead the state’s largest school district.

The HISD board of trustees elected new officers for 2019.
The HISD board of trustees elected new officers for 2019: Secretary Sergio Lira; Second Vice President Elizabeth Santos; President Diana Dávila; First Vice President Holly Vilaseca; and Assistant Secretary Sue Deigaard.

The Houston School Board has new officers to set the tone and direction of the group. On Thursday, Trustee Diana Dávila was elected as president, which means she can set the agenda.

As she accepted the gavel at Thursday’s meeting, Dávila alluded to the district’s challenges and criticism of the board.

“You’re right there have been choppy waters, I’m going on my sixteenth year and there have always been choppy waters, there are always sharks in the water,” she said.

Dávila previously served on the HISD board of trustees from 2003 to 2010. A former teacher, Dávila was reelected in 2015.

The slate of new officers reflected the racial divide on the board: The four top spots all went to the board’s Latino members. None of the board’s black trustees were nominated, though they’ve all held leadership positions in the past few years. 

The school board is also moving forward with hiring an executive coach, so members can better lead the state’s largest school district. For months, the Houston school board has been criticized for their behavior. And this month, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that their leadership is a joke.

One candidate is the state’s deputy education commissioner. Some parents like Karina Quesada De Leon spoke against that idea, since HISD faces the threat of a state takeover.

“Whatever problems you have now will only be made worse. And this will certainly not benefit our most neglected students. Don’t shoot yourselves in the shoot and invite him into your house — you will live to regret it,” Quesada De Leon said.

The board plans to consider candidates and make a final selection in February. Kay Douglas, a consultant with the Texas Association of School Boards, offered her services at the board’s meeting.

“I would like to work with you collectively, but also individually, to deal with you as the competent professionals that you are and to stand beside you,” Douglas said.

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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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