Two former and longtime Mission CISD employees go head-to-head for place 6 on the Mission CISD board of trustees. Dolores Reyna looks to unseat Petra Ramirez, who has held the spot for eight years.
Ramirez, 73, worked in Mission for about 29 years before retirement. She’s been a local for 45 years and describes her time on the board as a roller coaster experience. The incumbent originally intended to hang it up after her current term. But after her retirement plans fell through, she decided to give it another go.
“It has nothing to do with my opponent, it has nothing to do with monetary interest. No, I don’t get anything, and I don’t take anything from anybody. I just love what I do,” she said.
Reyna, 62, recently retired after 35 years with Mission CISD. She remains connected to the district through her daughter — a coach at Veterans Memorial High School — and a grandchild who attends one of the elementaries. Her motivation for running for the school board stems from her late parents, who were also educators at MCISD.
“My background in education has been from them — being a hard worker, being loyal, being dedicated, and making things better,” she said. “And if I feel I have the knowledge and skills to make things better, this would be the place I want to do it because I’ve lived in this community, I’ve worked in this community, I have ties to this community.”
Initially, Reyna was not looking to go up against an incumbent, and only decided to run for place 6 when she learned Ramirez planned to step down. Since Ramirez reentered the race, the two have remained friendly. Reyna said nothing about her campaign has changed since gaining an opponent.
As a board member, Ramirez describes herself as blunt and honest. She’s not afraid to disagree with the majority. Over the years, the trustee has been vocal about directing money to student needs, even if it means opting out of school board trips, workshops and events. She feels that money is better going to the students and staff.
“I’m not perfect, but I’ve always tried to do what’s in the best interest of every single person, from the superintendent to the last person on the totem pole in the school district. What is everybody going to gain from every decision I’m going to make,” the former teacher said. “And I’ve always tried to base that as being the best decision. I try to identify with people.”
Moving forward, Ramirez’s priority is returning the school district to its pre-COVID routine. With the funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants, the school district has already begun implementing programs to address the learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her promise is to advocate for more of the same.
When it comes to reelection, the seatholder says to look at her track record for proof that she can get the job done. She said she has had minimal absences and has always stuck firm to the regulations and policies — alluding to the recent legal scandal within the La Joya ISD school board.
“I will continue to do what I am doing and what I have always done — being honest and being straightforward, and making sure that our taxpayers’ funds are being used wisely in the daily operations of Mission CISD,” she said.
The challenger, Reyna, also wants to focus on rebounding from the COVID slide and ensuring the district divvies the finances to the appropriate programs. As a former grant writer for Mission CISD, she is familiar with the district’s budget and wants to bring that expertise to the school board.
“I’m fresh out. I just retired a year ago. I worked in administration, I worked in grants. I know money and funding are out there,” Reyna said. “The funding is there that the state is sending us, we just need to prioritize. And I feel that I am more current in the needs of the district, and as far as approaches we should take with the district improvement.”
The Mission High school alum also said she wants to create more financial transparency, especially for larger construction projects such as the Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium. She believes the district needs to be better at communicating important matters to the public, regardless of the type of information.
Additionally, Reyna said she wants to advocate for community engagement with Alton and Palmhurst city leaders to improve community literacy and increase parental involvement.
“I feel I have the background, I feel I have the knowledge and skills that I can help the school district,” Reyna said. “And I have worked with Superintendent Dr. Perez. I feel we have a very good relationship, and we can move the district forward successfully.”
Both candidates said they feel the district is heading in the right direction; they just want to be the one to sit on the board and ensure Mission CISD stays along the same path.
Election Day is May 7. Early voting begins April 25.