In 1970, in the middle of the civil rights era, Dr. José A. Cárdenas, Superintendent of the Edgewood ISD in San Antonio, conceived the idea of the Mexican American School Boardmembers Association. Mexican Americans—who represented a substantial part of the Texas population—were poorly represented on local school boards, and Dr. Cárdenas dreamed of organizing Mexican American/Chicano/Hispanic/Latino/Latinx school board members. The organization was officially incorporated on December 6, 1973, with financial aid from the National Education Task Force De La Raza and from the American Lutheran Church.
During its infancy, MASBA was led by a 14-member Board of Directors. The organization was headquartered at St. Edward’s University in Austin, and President Rubén Hinojosa of the Mercedes ISD oversaw the organization’s operations until the hiring of its first Executive Director: Chris Escamilla of the Edgewood ISD. At that time, membership in MASBA was open to all school districts with a sizeable percentage of minority students. MASBA held its first conference on February 8-9, 1975. MASBA organized various efforts, served as a consultant to the Priorities Committee of the Texas State Board of Education, and worked to implement the recommendations of “Toward Quality Education for Mexican Americans,” a report by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) of San Antonio. Until 1987, MASBA hosted a leadership program for Mexican American school board members.
MASBA’s initial growth was funded by IDRA, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the National Task Force De La Raza. Prominent members at that time included future U.S. Congressmen Rubén Hinojosa (Mercedes ISD) & Ciro Rodriguez (Harlandale ISD), Austin Mayor Gustavo García (Austin ISD), State Representative Frank Madla (South San Antonio ISD), Raza Unida co-founder José Ángel Gutiérrez (Crystal City ISD), and Alicia Chacón (Ysleta ISD), the first woman elected to El Paso government.
MASBA fell dormant in 1989 but was reinvigorated again in 1993, through the efforts of Juan Aguilera (Round Rock ISD), Albert Martinez & Tommy Molina (San Diego ISD), Diana Castaneda (Austin ISD), Theresa Gutierrez (Victoria ISD), and Louis Q. Reyes, III (Seguin ISD).
Throughout the years, MASBA has tackled tough issues of equity and diversity, appropriate curriculum, and the advancement of the Mexican American culture. For 22 years, MASBA has presented an annual conference for trustees to learn about and discuss such issues.
MASBA is also renowned for hosting Texas’ first-ever statewide high school mariachi championship in 2010. The annual competition grew and, as a result of MASBA’s efforts, mariachi was recognized in 2015 as a sanctioned event of the University Interscholastic League!
MASBA Board Presidents
c. 1974 Gustavo L. Garcia, Austin ISD
Before 1986 Dr. Robert Sepulveda, Weslaco ISD
1986 – 1987 Lidia M. Perez, Austin ISD
1987 – 1988 Amancio Chapa, La Joya ISD
1988 – 1989 Oscar G. Hernandez, San Antonio ISD
1989 Jimmie Adame, Taft ISD
1995 – 1996 Diana Castaneda, Austin ISD
1996 Louis Q. Reyes, III, Seguin ISD
1996 – 1998 Theresa Gutierrez, Victoria ISD
1998 – 2001 Albert Martinez, San Diego ISD
2001 – 2003 Jimmie Adame, Taft ISD
2003 – 2004 Dr. Viola García, Aldine ISD
2004 – 2006 Oscar García, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD
2006 – 2007 Dr. Manuel C. Flores, Corpus Christ ISD
2007 – 2009 Joe Muñoz, Hays CISD
2009 – 2010 María Leal, South Texas ISD
2010 – 2011 Manuel “Manny” Rodríguez, Jr., Houston ISD
2011 – 2012 Joshua “Josh” Cerna, Harlandale ISD
2012 – 2013 Juan Rangel, Fort Worth ISD
2013 – 2014 Gloria Santillán Casas, La Feria ISD
2014 – 2015 Danny “Chief” Bueno, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD
2015 – 2016 Louis Q. Reyes, III, Seguin ISD
2016 – 2017 Irene Galán-Rodríguez, Big Spring ISD
2017 – 2018 Armando “Mando” Rodríguez, Canutillo ISD
2018 – 2019 Homero García, South Texas ISD
2019 – 2020 Guillermo “Willie” Tenorio, Jr., Hays CISD
MASBA Executive Directors
1996 – 2004 Juan Aguilera, Round Rock ISD
2004 – 2005 Tommy Molina, San Diego ISD
2006 Juan Aguilera, Round Rock ISD
2007 – 2008 Jimmie Adame, Taft ISD
2010 – 2014 Joe Muñoz, Hays CISD
2014 – 2017 Louis Q. Reyes, III, Seguin ISD
2017 – Dr. Jayme Mathías, Austin ISD