La Joya ISD has three new board members who hope to make a positive impact on the district, teachers, students and staff.
During this week’s board of trustees meeting, Nereyda Cantu (Place 1), Esperanza “Espie” Ochoa (Place 2) and Mary Hernandez (Place 3) were sworn in after being elected to serve the community.
The votes were canvassed before the swearing-in officially began. Board President Armin Garza read the count.
For Place 1, Cantu ran unopposed, winning 9,600 votes. She thanked God, her family, coworkers and educational leaders for supporting her through her journey.
“I am honored and privileged to be here, because as most of you know, this is a district that is dear to my heart,” Cantu said after being sworn in. “We are very blessed to be in a district whose mission is educational excellence for all students, and I say that everywhere I go. I am ecstatic to join efforts with all of you here at La Joya ISD to ensure that every child who walks in our doors graduates with a firm foundation to succeed in life.”
For Place 2, Ochoa gained 6,504 votes, ran against Frances Salinas, who received 1,625 votes and Pamela Flores, who received 2,814 votes. Ochoa thanked God and her family for their continued support and love throughout her campaign.
“We will work together as a team of eight, and when I say eight, that means [including] Dr. B [Superintendent Alda Benavides],” Ochoa said. “I will listen to you as an educator, I will listen to you as a friend. I will work in my best ability to do all that I can to do what’s best for all. Together we will go forward and our community will continue to succeed.”
For Place 3, Hernandez won 6,711 votes, beating her opponent Johnn Alaniz, who received 4,700 votes. Hernandez thanked God and her family for being with her throughout the campaign process.
“I look forward to working with all these gentlemen and ladies for our students and for our teachers,” Hernandez said. “I cannot thank you enough for all the support you guys gave me. I’m willing to work together and make it a better district.”
The board meeting also included a video celebrating the former board members who served LJISD, including Frances Salinas, J.J. Peña and Johnn Alaniz. The board thanked them for their time serving the district and wished them well in their future endeavors.
Peña and Alaniz both spoke before the canvassing and swearing in ceremony, thanking their fellow trustees and the community for their years with the district. Frances Salinas was not present at the meeting.
Peña thanked his family, saying that working in public service means taking time away from loved ones and they were his constant the entire time.
“I’m proud to say I attended La Joya ISD and I will always be proud to say I attended La Joya ISD,” Peña said. “It was an honor to give back eight years of my life in serving my community, the students, the educators and the staff. Every moment that I served here on the board was one of learning and one of experiencing new things.”
Alaniz congratulated the new members of the board and wished the best for LJISD. He also thanked his wife, family and friends for allowing him to serve on the board.
“Thank you for the memories,” Alaniz said. “Thank you for all the years, and, of course, I’ll be back.”
Board President Garza expressed that he was looking forward to seeing how the new board serves the district.
“On behalf of the board, I’d like to welcome our three new members,” Board President Garza said. “I know that they have the best intentions for our school district as do the sitting board members right now. I know that there are great things in store for La Joya ISD.”