Congratulations to all, and on to 2018.
Two current educators, Elizabeth Santos and Sergio Lira, won seats on the Houston ISD school board, according to preliminary results from Saturday’s runoff election.
Voters also chose Pretta VanDible Stallworth, a business consultant and adjunct professor, to fill the final seat on the Houston Community College board, based on the unofficial results.
Santos, an English literature teacher at Northside High School, appeared to cruise to victory over Gretchen Himsl, a policy analyst for Children at Risk, an education and child-welfare advocacy nonprofit. She would represent District I on Houston’s northwest and north sides.
Santos campaigned on allocating more funding for teachers and classroom instruction, emphasizing the community schools model and offering a diverse voice from the district’s east side, which is largely Latino. The 35-year-old Houston ISD schools graduate had the endorsement and financial backing of the largest national and local teachers unions.
“It’s been incredibly special to me, to be able to really anchor myself inside the community,” Santos said. “Not everyone has had their voice heard in this district, and to be able to have that voice, that’s one thing I’m absolutely hopeful and excited about.”
In November’s three-candidate general election for District I, Santos earned 45 percent of the vote, with Himsl receiving 34 percent.
Lira, an assistant principal at Bellaire High School, looked to score a come-from-behind victory Saturday after finishing in second in the general election for District III, which represents the district’s southeast side. Challenger Jesse Rodriguez earned 40 percent of the general election vote to Lira’s 34 percent.
Lira, 56, emphasized his experience as an educator on the campaign trail, contrasting it Rodriguez, a customer care manager and volunteer radio host.
You can see the numbers here. Both boards have their work cut out for them. The stakes are especially high for HISD, as they try to stave off intervention from the TEA. Best of luck to all the winners, now let’s get to work.