MISSION — School board members unanimously approved the employment contract for Carolina “Carol” Perez as the district’s new superintendent during a special meeting here Monday morning.
Perez, currently the superintendent at Kingsville ISD and an educator for 31 years, was the sole finalist for the position and was approved by Mission CISD trustees by a 5-0 vote. She is the school district’s first female superintendent.
“We have a tremendous responsibility to make sure we serve the children first, the staff and the community as a whole,” Perez said after the special meeting.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico but raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Perez is taking over for former superintendent Ricardo Lopez, who left at the end of 2017 to become superintendent of Garland ISD.
Since then, Mission CISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Criselda “Cris” Valdez has served as the interim superintendent. Valdez will continue her original position once Perez’s contract begins July 30.
A graduate of La Joya High School, Perez received her bachelor’s degree in 1986 and her master’s in education in 1995, both from the University of Texas Pan-American, now UTRGV. She earned a doctorate in leadership from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2010.
“I am really looking forward to getting to know the team and families of the district,” Perez said. “I want to make sure we all work together to move Mission CISD forward and build on the foundation set by my predecessors.”
Perez began her educational career at McAllen ISD, starting as an English teacher and eventually becoming the instructional support services officer. She became an assistant superintendent in Kingsville in 2013 and the superintendent in 2014.
She said being the superintendent in Mission is a tribute to her father, who attended school in the district. Perez said he taught his five daughters to become “independent and productive citizens.”
“He instilled in us that with education you couldn’t go wrong,” Perez said. “With the power of education, there’s nothing we couldn’t accomplish.”
Perez emphasized that her roots are planted in Mission — she, her husband, her sisters and friends attended public schools and worked jobs in the city. She sees her new position as an opportunity to give back to the place she feels a connection to.
“What I’m looking forward to the most is making a contribution to the city and school district that has given so much to my family and I,” Perez said. “It’s about coming home.”