With the Mission school district still going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected nearly 39,000 people in Hidalgo County alone, the school board of trustees held a virtual ceremony to welcome their three new board members and a returning trustee.
The Monday school board meeting saw retired educator Iris “Coach” Iglesias, incumbent Jerry Zamora and businessmen Roy Vela and Juan M. Gonzalez. With the exception of Zamora, all winners were new to the board.
“Today starts your legacy of what you do and what you represent for the next four years,” school board President Minnie R. Rodgers told the new trustees. “There will be a lot of support and patience for you and I feel very strongly that we are one board who will come together for the benefit of Mission students and teachers. Welcome aboard.”
Iglesias, who won nearly 53% of the vote, is the new Place 2 school board trustee. She described the experience of the campaign as one she will never forget.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped out tremendously for this and I’d like to acknowledge the outgoing board members for their service to our wonderful district,” Iglesias said. “To the current and new board members, I look forward to working with each of you knowing there are many challenges before us. I will represent everyone, even those who didn’t vote for me.”
Zamora, a state trooper, is the Place 2 representative. In his speech after being sworn in, Zamora thanked his family, friends and voters who got him elected.
“I thank you for having the confidence in allowing me to continue to be your voice and your representative to stand for our students,” Zamora said. “I accept your confidence with great humility and grace.”
Zamora also praised former state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Sr. who passed away last August from COVID-19 complications.
“He was my friend, confidante, advisor and a true pillar to the community,” Zamora said of Muñoz Sr.. Zamora also acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be a challenge for the board, and the community as a whole.
“Just because the virus hit our community, we haven’t stopped working as a board. We are finding new ways to keep our children safe and will learn to work with each other as we continue the great work we have been doing before the election to be recognized as one of Texas’ best school boards,” Zamora said. “We can keep this momentum going.”
The pandemic also affected Place 4 Trustee Vela who was virtually sworn in from his parent’s home where next door, his family was holding a rosary for his uncle.
“I took the oath here where I was raised and my story began,” Vela said. “COVID numbers are still high, my parents are older and elderly and this was safe for them. We thought this was appropriate to show that COVID is still bringing families together even when there’s tragedy.”
Gonzalez thanked God and his family for providing what he called “unwavering support” during his campaign.
“My campaign started with a prayer and ended with prayers,” Gonzalez said. “The campaign seemed like it went on forever, but these people were there every step of the way. This has been an amazing experience that I will share for a lifetime. I am thankful for the many people I met on this journey who otherwise I wouldn’t have created lifetime friendships with. [The board] have reinvented themselves to see our students continue to progress. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”