PORT ISABEL — As a graduate of Point Isabel ISD, Jimmy Vela says he feels thankful he can give back to the school district that built him into the leader he is today.
This year, Vela is entering his first term as school board president and sixth year of serving on the board.
Early this month, he was selected to participate in the Texas Association of School Boards’ Leadership TASB (LTASB) program.
The year-long program is designed to take experienced board members to a new level of service and leadership by exposing them to a variety of issues involving people, activities and locations.
Class members are selected for how they demonstrated leadership in their local district and community, as well as their representation of the diversity of Texas school districts.
Vela said he is most looking forward to discussing innovative ideas with other school board members and learning from each other.
“I’m excited to see what the other districts are doing, compare what we can do better and see how we can help other districts,” Vela said. “Also, to collaborate with them and ensure that we make the Texas education system a lot better.”
Traditionally, the year-long program consists of five weekend sessions that last two to three days each. Sessions will be held in Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, Longview and Fort Worth.
Vela said in addition to being selected to participate in the program, he received a scholarship that covers the cost of the program.
“I think it was only 13 that got selected for the scholarship,” Vela said. “So I got that as well and it was really exciting news.”
Topics addressed in the program include — teamwork, trusteeship, equity, diversity and visionary leadership.
“Participants build relationships with colleagues from around the state while discovering solutions for today’s public education challenges and learning how to address the challenges the future is expected to bring,” the Texas Association of School Boards’ website states.
For Vela, giving back to the community is what he enjoys most about serving on the school board.
“I’ve worked with kids since right out of high school when I became a substitute teacher so it’s been a good 20 to 21 years already that I’ve dedicated my career and my life to education,” he said. “It’s a challenging time, but I’m glad that I can lead my fellow board members and the district through the difficult times.”