‘I gave it my all’ — Longtime Sharyland trustee steps down
After 15 years on the Sharyland ISD board of trustees, Ricky Longoria had difficulty compressing the experience into a 30-minute interview.
“How do you do that,” he asked. “How do you serve it justice?”
He reminisced on the accomplishments, the highlights and the efforts that went into holding the Place 1 seat. But with the last of his children out of school already, he decided not to run for reelection this time.
“Fifteen years is a long time in anyone’s life,” Longoria said. “It has been nothing but a labor of love and a passion in the belief of what education can do to allow people to succeed in life. And it’s just time to let someone else step up and take over. It was just time.”
Before the now 57-year-old ran for school board, he was a very active parent — participating in his children’s lives through campus events and in smaller committees. But he wanted to do more.
When Longoria ran for a place on the SISD school board, he did it because he felt his experience as a certified public accountant would benefit the board and the school district. His knack for understanding financial matters shortened the learning curve, and Longoria was able to provide a skillset the board didn’t have at the time. Longoria said the community believed in what he had to offer, and they have ever since.
“When I first ran, I’ll never forget my very first speech. I talked about the belief in education, and I talked about the belief in our teachers, and I talked about how all kids should be treated equally,” he recalled. “I think I’ve met and exceeded in meeting all those goals and objectives from day one.”
One of his proudest accomplishments was playing a role in creating Pioneer High School. At the time, Longoria was school board president and pushed for the bond constituents approved to pay for the new school. He said he remembers advocating for more opportunities for the kids and convincing people that it was the way to take Sharyland to the next level.
But the most rewarding aspect of the job always came at the end of the school year — watching students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
“To me, that’s why you’re there. [You’re] wishing them the best of luck in whatever they decide to do, knowing that the decisions you made are going to have a significant impact as to what the trajectory of the rest of their life would be,” Longoria said. “Knowing that I played a small part in their success is really cool.”
The outgoing trustee said his time on the board gave him a deeper appreciation for all things and people in education. Before becoming a school board member, he admits he had a misconception about all the responsibilities required of educators. He also commented on the overall shift in focus to security and how Sharyland has had to adapt as the world changes around them. But he thanked everyone involved in the process.
“The world is changing around [kids] so quickly,” Longoria said. “And yet we continue to, in many regards, pile on [educators] to be all things to all kids and that is really hard. I don’t know how they can do it.”
As for the future of the school board, Longoria wishes the trustees the best of luck and asks that they stay true to Sharyland.
“If there is one thing that I’ve always held true, it’s appreciating the uniqueness in the jewel that Sharyland has and will always be,” Longoria said. “Board members, even to this day, will confirm that I say things like, ‘The things that make us unique are the things that make us better than everybody else.’ And I hope the board doesn’t forget that.”
Since announcing his retirement from the board, he said the number of phone calls from people thanking him for his service and sharing disappointment that he’s stepping down has been very humbling.
Outside of spending time with his family, Longoria said he doesn’t know what’s next for him, but he is open to all possibilities. He wants to continue serving the community in some form after supporting him all these years.
“I want to thank the community for believing in me,” Longoria said. “I gave it my all, I told them I would, and so that’s what I did.”
Ricky is an outstanding servant and served with integrity. He will definitely be missed from the role of board member.