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