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Educator finds love for teaching early on

20140627 SISD-Teacher Stephan-SlawsonMISSION—As a teenager, Stephan Slawson volunteered his time to help his favorite teacher with students in his campus special needs program.

Now, as the Sharyland District Teacher of the Year for secondary education, he believes the seed was planted early that sprouted his love for education.

Originally from Michigan, Slawson said that same favorite teacher was his inspiration to become an educator.

“Mrs. Hyslop is the teacher that I owe my spark and passion for working with special needs students to,” Slawson said. “Thank you Mrs. Hyslop, you had no idea how much you influenced my education, careerchoices and my life in general. Thank you for everything that you did and I wish I couldhave told you how much you meant to me.”


Saldaña finds true calling as educator

20140627 SISD-Teacher Johanna-SaldanaMISSION—Johanna Saldaña envisioned herself in many careers growing up, from Barbie clothes designer to an ophthalmologist who cures macular generation.

The last thing on her mind was making a living in education.

“My mother's side of the family is full of teachers, so I actually didn't want to be a teacher when I was growing up,” Saldaña said. “I worked as a tutor during high school and college and that is what sparked my interest in education and working with children.”

Now in her seventh year as an educator, Saldaña has been named Sharyland ISD District Teacher of the Year for the elementary level. She said the reaction from her grandparents, mother and son made a huge impact on her.


Board names new MRA director

20140627 Daniel-SilvaMISSION—Daniel Silva, chief operating officer of the MEDC, was named the executive director of the Mission Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday.

Richard Perez, former MRA executive director, will stay on to assist Silva during the transition process for an undetermined amount of time.

Richard Hernandez, chairman of the MRA board, said that Silva had been behind the scenes learning about the board and its projects within the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

Hernandez said that Silva’s contract agreement is set for a year, during this time he added Perez would assist in his training and transfer of responsibilities. He added Perez also received the same assistance from the executive director before him.


Mayor Salinas wins another 4 years as leader of Mission

20140621 MISSION Mayor election 1907Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas had tough words for his opponent after winning the runoff election Saturday with 57 percent of the vote.

Salinas, who has been in office since 1998, received 2,668 of 4,661 votes, according to unofficial totals released by Hidalgo County on Saturday. Challenger, local businessman Jaime Gutierrez, received 1,993.

“Today they lost by a lot of votes,” Salinas said. “Everybody knows that the only votes they got was because they were spending a lot of money; they were giving a lot of money away. That’s one problem they have tonight … we have the job.”


Mission runoff election is Saturday

20140620 MISSION Early-voting 1833Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas was confident heading into Election Day that he’d keep his title once votes are counted Saturday evening.

He faces local businessman Jaime Gutierrez in a runoff; the only race on the ballot.

After Salinas narrowly missed clinching his seat without a runoff in May, he said he hadn’t changed his campaign strategy. He’s depending on voters who have kept him in office more than 16 years to hit the polls.

“I think they started going out again to vote,” Salinas said. “I’m very happy to see that they responded to the campaign.”


La Joya ISD board asks for $43M in expenses

LA-JOYA-LOGOLA JOYA–School board members asked administrators to work more than $43 million of additional expenditures into next year’s budget at a workshop Monday evening.

La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees later approved 4 percent raises for its staff, $2,400 for its teachers and $1.25/hour for its clerical and technical employees. That, along with new positions, accounted for more than $12 million of the additional budget expenses.

The board has yet to discuss publicly the overall financial outlook for the district in terms of revenues versus expenditures, but according to Alfredo Vela, assistant superintendent of administration and finance, the district has $116 million in its fund balance–that’s up from $45 million in 2004.


Rios uses music to motivate students

LJISD-Daniella-Rios---ElementaryThe youngest of nine, Daniella Rios grew up taking care of nieces and nephews, and she learned early on she was good at motivating children.

“I had a lot of patience. I had a lot of understanding with them,” Rios said, and that’s why she went into teaching. “I just knew I had it in me.”

Now just six years in as an educator, Rios’ passion for the job was recognized this year as she was named the Elementary Teacher of the Year for La Joya Independent School District. She teaches dual language mathematics and English language arts to third-graders at Clinton Elementary in Peñitas.


Lifelong learner finds true calling in teaching at La Joya ISD

LJISD-Cynthia-E.-Barrera-SecondaryCynthia Barrera intended to get a degree in nursing when she first attended Pan American University back when the program was just beginning. At the time, she wanted a career in which she could help people.

But the university delayed the program a year, forcing Barrera to try out other types of classes. Taking a course on music education changed the young college student’s plans, and she settled on a career as a teacher, earning a four-year degree in three years. That was in 1986.

Nearly three decades later, Barrera’s dedication to teaching has earned her the distinction of Secondary Teacher of the Year from La Joya Independent School District. She teaches English language arts to eighth-graders at Memorial Middle School.


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