The Mexican American School Boards Association was founded by Edgewood ISD Superintendent José A. Cárdenas in 1970, in the middle of the civil rights era. Cárdenas was concerned that Mexican Americans—who represented a substantial part of the Texas population—were poorly represented on local school boards. 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 Austin Mayor Gustavo García, Alicia Chacón of the Social Security Administration, State Representative Frank Madla, and Raza Unida co-founder José Ángel Gutiérrez.
Throughout the years, MASBA has tackled tough issues of equity and diversity, appropriate curriculum, and the advancement of the Mexican American culture. For 20 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 2009. The annual competition grew, and MASBA is pleased to report that mariachi is now a sanctioned extracurricular activity with events hosted by the University Interscholastic League!
Recent MASBA Board Presidents
2000 – 2002 Alberto Martínez, San Diego ISD
2002 – 2003 Tommy Molina, San Diego ISD
2003 – 2003 Jimmie Adame, Taft ISD
2003 – 2004 Viola García, Aldine ISD
2004 – 2006 Oscar García, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD
2006 – 2007 Manuel Flores, Corpus Christ ISD
2007 – 2009 Joe Muñoz, Hays CISD
2009 – 2010 María Leal, South Texas ISD
2010 – 2011 Manuel Rodríguez, Houston ISD
2011 – 2012 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 Rodríguez, Canutillo ISD
Recent MASBA Executive Directors
1996 – 2000 Juan Aguilera, Round Rock ISD
2000 – 2005 Tommy Molina, San Diego ISD
2005 – 2010 Jimmie Adame, Taft ISD
2010 – 2015 Joe Muñoz, Hays CISD
2015 – 2017 Louis Q. Reyes, III, Seguin ISD
2017 – Jayme Mathías, Austin ISD