Area superintendents gather at HESTEC for leadership breakfast, round table discussions

Area schools superintendents gathered for breakfast and round table dialogue with national government leaders, corporate partners and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the HESTEC Superintendents Leadership Breakfast, held Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by Kristela Garza)

Area schools superintendents gathered for breakfast and round table dialogue with national government leaders, corporate partners and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the HESTEC Superintendents Leadership Breakfast, held Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by Kristela Garza)

Story by Gail Fagan

EDINBURG, TEXAS – OCT. 5, 2015 – A large group of public and charter school superintendents from across the Rio Grande Valley met during HESTEC on Monday with national government leaders, corporate partners, and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast.

The goal was to initiate open dialogue and share ideas on how to provide more opportunities for students and ensure their success.

Superintendents were able to meet with four U.S. Congressmen, including Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), Filemón Vela (TX-34), Judy Chu (CA-27), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Joaquín Castro (TX-20), and discuss the importance of partnerships with corporate leaders from Shell, Texas Instruments, US Navy, ExxonMobil, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy, among others.

 Topics of the round table discussion, held at the ITT Building on the Edinburg Campus, included legislation affecting K-12 education; corporate support, particularly in promoting STEM; Texas initiatives to promote student access and success; UTRGV recruitment and outreach to schools; and available degree programs available in STEM at UTRGV.

“Think about all the people in this room today,” said Guy Bailey, founding UTRGV president, in his welcoming remarks. “If we can’t have impact on education, who can? We look forward to working with you on a long-term, ongoing basis about one great issue – the success of our students.”

Bailey described the four major objectives of the university, which he said will have a long-reaching impact on the Valley: student success, educational opportunity, medical education, and research on issues affecting the region. 
“We want your students, and we want to help you get those students to us to create the most effective and efficient pipeline possible,” Bailey said.

Dr. Art Cavazos, superintendent of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and a bachelor’s and master’s degree alumnus from UT Pan American – a UTRGV legacy institution – said the gathering was an excellent opportunity, especially during the establishment of UTRGV as a new, regional university.

“Often, we spend a lot of time talking in silos, rather than coming together as a region,” he said. “Anytime we can bring people together to visit about the very things that we need to be addressing in order for kids to persist in postsecondary education is a celebration.”

UTRGV Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations Richard Sanchez, whose office oversaw the event, said UTRGV plans to create committees with university representatives and school superintendents to discuss past problems.

“It’s a new day,” Sanchez said. “We want to be a university that includes input from our school superintendents and to talk about core issues.” 

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