The McAllen school district boardroom was tightly packed and nearly full on Monday evening as four incumbents were sworn in for another term, and new officers were chosen.
Marco Suarez, who was previously serving as vice president, will now lead as president. Trustee Sam Saldivar, who served as board secretary, will take over Suarez’s previous position as vice president, and Conrado “Ito” Alvarado was voted secretary.
School board trustees for Places 1, 2 , 4 and 5 were up for election in May. The four incumbents, including trustees Danny Vela and Tony Forina, took their oaths in front of friends and family. The election results were presented to the school board May 15.
All trustees were met with cheers and standing applause from the audience after they took their oaths.
Suarez said he is a proud of McAllen, and that his son and family are from the district. He thanked former board presidents and former trustees sitting in the audience for their knowledge and the lessons he learned from them.
Saldivar has served in various positions as a trustee and noted the importance of furthering education in a region where past generations struggled to obtain a high school diploma, even less obtained higher education.
“We are elected by the community, by the parents, by our taxpayers, to represent the interests of the children,” Saldivar said, echoing other trustees in a “children first” sentiment.
Alvarado said at the end of the day, being a board officer is ultimately about serving students, and that the named positions on the board are no different from the others.
“We’re all the same; we all have the same vote… Rest assured that every single person up here is going to fight for kids and we will work through it,” Alvarado said, despite any disagreements that may come up.
For him, service to the public is not an issue, but the election season puts pressure on him as a person and on his family, he said, adding this will be his last race.
Vela has served on the board since 2007 and will begin his fourth term, while Forina will serve his second.
Vela said during his time on the school board he made a broad impact on students and directly affected his own children’s education.
Forina also said it will be his last term as a trustee and thanked his family for supporting him in a narrow race.
Trustees Debbie Aliseda, Larry Esparza and Saldivar terms’ will end in 2021.