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Sharyland hopefuls enter trustee election

Sharyland voters have two items to look out for in the upcoming school board race. Place 1 and Place 2 are up for election, and two candidates have entered the bid for each position, some of which are familiar faces in the community. 

Place 1

Longtime Sharyland ISD board member Ricky Longoria did not throw his hat in the race this year and will vacate his trustee position for the first time in nearly 15 years. With Longoria out, that leaves Sergio Saenz and Meagan Sullivan vying for the Place 1 spot. 

Meagan Sullivan

Sergio Saenz

Saenz is a first-time political candidate. The business owner originally grew up in Houston but has been part of the Sharyland community since 1993. He has a 10-year-old who attends Hinojosa Elementary, and his child is part of the reason he decided to run for school board on a safety and security platform. 

“What triggered it is obviously the Uvalde shooting and, more recently, the incidents that have been at Pioneer and Rio Grande City High School,” Saenz said, referencing recent events where students brought weapons to school. “I want to make sure that all the students, the staff, the educators and everybody is safe. They’re there to get an education and that’s what they should be worried about.” 

Opposing candidate Meagan Sullivan is an educational diagnostician with Wil-Cam Co-op Special Education Services. But before that, she was an SISD employee for about 15 years. Sullivan has had five children attend the district, three of which have already graduated. The Place 1 hopeful said she has been active in the community since moving to Sharyland in 2002, volunteering in the classroom, at the district level and at her church. 

Although this is Sullivan’s first time running for political office, she already has experience igniting change in the community. Last year, she spoke before the school board, urging them to change the dress code to be more inclusive of all races. Months later, the trustees updated the clothing requirements to abide by federal law. 

Sullivan said although her experience with SISD and the school board has been positive, it concerns her that other community members do not feel the same way, and she wants to help mend the relationship. 

“I’m drawn to kind of bridging communication gaps, bridging different people. I’m an adoptive parent, I have access to a lot of different people with a lot of different beliefs and ideas, and I think bringing all of that together is always good,” Sullivan said. “The more people you have in the room that can bring new perspectives, the better it is.” 

Place 2

In a familiar scenario, Julio Cerda is going up against incumbent Alejandro Rodriguez, who unseated Cerda in the 2020 school board election. Cerda held the position for six years before he lost to Rodriguez with 44% of the vote. 

Alejandro Rodriguez

Julio Cerda

Cerda is an engineer, business owner and former Mission city manager, with three children moving through the Sharyland district. He said his run for school board is because he wants to impact the policies the district sets forth, some of which have changed since his time as an SISD trustee. Cerda said he is enthusiastic about running for office again; he believes the board would benefit from his input and knowledge. 

“I’m excited for the community to have a choice and have an opportunity to choose who they are represented by,” Cerda said. “Anytime somebody has any questions having to do with the district, I’ll be happy to answer them…my number [is] 956.451.2670. I love open government, I love making sure people know as much as I do as a board member, and I’d just like to get involved.”

Rodriguez, the current Place 2 holder, is a criminal investigator who has lived in Sharyland for more than 20 years. He and his wife raised four children that have attended SISD. The incumbent said he hopes his work as a trustee for the last three years has garnered the community’s respect, and he hopes to serve another term. 

“l have served professionally and with the interest of our district and community in mind, free of personal agendas. I have taken my position seriously and have not missed a single board meeting during my tenure,” Rodriguez said. “Furthermore, I have always been fiscally responsible and made sure our resources were being utilized in the best interest of our community.” 

Early voting begins Monday, April 24 and runs through Tuesday, May 2. Election Day is Saturday, May 6.

1 Comment

  1. Juan on March 10, 2023 at 4:59 am

    Julio Cerda cant keep a seat on any of the boards hes been on. There always seems to be some kind of negative impact tot he boards hes served on.

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