Last Wednesday, I made the time to head over to the +The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce monthly Buenas Tardes Luncheon at the Cimarron Country Club. The guest speakers at the luncheon were the school superintendents of +Mission CISD, +La Joya ISD, and +Sharyland ISD. I'm late writing about it because. . ., nevermind that.
You would expect such an event to by your typical stuffy event composed of people in suits and controlled speeches meant to not offend anybody or cause controversy. I must say that the event was pleasantly surprising, entertaining even.
The panel consisted of, all Doctors by the way, Ricardo Lopez (Mission CISD), Alda Benavides (La Joya ISD, and brand spanking new Robert O'Connor (Sharyland ISD).
They were very open to sharing their views on what the districts face in the coming year. Dr. Benavides was very candid in talking about how competition with charter schools has been a good thing for public schools, requiring them to do a better job of educating students. Her view is that charter school competition is an opportunity to improve rather than a threat to public education.
Dr. Lopez was frank about sharing some of the budgetary challenges that schools face when the legislature sets money aside, but then adds many extra unfunded requirements while cutting budgets elsewhere.
Dr. O'Connor is the new kid on the block. He stated that he doesn't have statistics to offer, we'll have to wait until next year. However, he did share that his focus this year will be building his team, which is understandable. There have been some politica going on over at Sharyland ISD in recent years, which tends to inhibit teamwork. Best of luck.
The only other thing of note is that Alex Meade of the Mission Economic Development Corporation shared the success of their Code the Town initiative geared towards fostering an environment for students to learn how to program. Many of the high paying jobs of the future will consist of software development for all manner of uses from websites, robotics, corporate networks, to gaming. Mission EDC is getting statewide and national recognition for the effort, which is unlikely for a small town such as ours.