Members of the Board of Trustees govern and oversee the school district. Trustees set the vision and goals for the district, oversee the superintendent (who they can fire and hire), and adopt the annual tax rate and operating budget. This is an unpaid, nonpartisan position. Trustees serve four-year terms. Voters can select no more than two candidates for the at-large trustee seats. You can find SISD trustee district boundaries by clicking HERE. Click HERE to view a personalized sample ballot.

Who’s running for this seat?

Joshua Carter Guerra

Joshua Carter Guerra, 37, works for a law firm.

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David Ayala, 40, did not respond.

David Morales

David Morales, 64, a current Socorro ISD trustee, did not respond.

Miguel Antonio Rico

Miguel Rico, 56, previously worked for the Sheriff’s office.

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Jose Alonzo, 60, did not respond.

Michael Najera

Michael Najera, 49, is a health care consultant and a current SISD trustee.

Marivel Macias

Marivel Macias, 50, is an educator who worked as a principal and assistant superintendent.

Candidate Questionnaires

Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.

What experience do you have with curriculum, overseeing budgets, or setting and analyzing policy? Please explain.

Joshua Carter Guerra: I worked for the state for 10+ years and I am fully aware how the budget works and how we can prioritize our needs. I have worked closely with educators and will work with anyone that wants to improve our district and public schools across the city and state.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: While serving the Sheriff’s Office, I was assigned to several leadership positions. As an emergency response manager, I was in charge of overseeing a couple of million dollar assets which were to be disbursed through the county. I also worked with the Rio Grande Council of Governments in order to make sure that the money and assets were divided proportionally amongst the region.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: Prior to my current appointment, I served on the Socorro ISD School Board Trustee from 2009-2019. During that time I gained significant experience with curriculum. Overseeing budgets and analyzing policy are core to my professional role as a Healthcare Consultant and formal education in accounting.

Marivel Macias: I have over 23 years of experience with curriculum, budgets, and policy. As a high school science teacher, I taught and wrote lesson plans for multiple courses. As a middle school instructional specialist, I wrote curriculum and pacing guides. I worked alongside elementary school teachers as a principal to create a strong first teacher with structured Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions for all grade levels. As an internal auditor and assistant superintendent, I managed budgets and wrote, updated, and presented policy to the Board for approval.

What are your budget priorities and how would you balance funding those priorities while keeping property taxes in check?

Joshua Carter Guerra: We need to have monthly updates on these projects. They need to be finished on time and on budget – this will save taxpayers money in the long run.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: Texas is in a $37.2 billion surplus. My priorities are to claim some of that surplus in order to provide a better education for our district at all levels. This would not increase any of our taxes.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: Fiscally responsible priorities include:

  • Alleviating burnout by enforcing existing & adopting new policies.
  • Improving the safety of the educational environment through technological/physical improvements to campuses. We also need to ensure that our policies provide for proper disciplinary actions, including removal, of those who threaten school safety.
  • Improving the educator compensation package to improve recruitment, prevent turnover, & reduce vacancies with state funding.

Marivel Macias: SISD is a growing district. The following budget priorities are obtainable via A.D.A. funding and financial oversight: 1) Campus/Facility/Transportation Safety and Student Discipline: Allocate funding to provide adequate compensation, resources, and training to district first responders, nurses, counselors, teachers, etc. and reestablish/strengthen relationships with all local first responders. 2) Employee/Teacher Morale: Address staffing ratios, compensation, stipends, resources, and culture.

What recommendations would you make for the district to recruit and retain quality teachers and other employees?

Joshua Carter Guerra: Fight for fair and just compensation for all SISD employees, Advocate for mental health days.  Get rid of excessive after work meetings, have defined work hours and add more planning time during the week.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: Higher wages, lower insurance rates, and a better retirement in order to attract the best teachers and of course retain the best.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: The current job market is a very competitive one. In order to improve recruitment, we must enforce existing policies (class size, uninterrupted planning period/lunch), adopt new policies (defined workday), and improve the compensation package (salary, mental health, time off).

Marivel Macias: SISD is in the people business. We need to focus on our students. When they are happy and successful, enrollment grows which equates to an increase in funding that can then be strategically allocated to compensate, train, and support employees. As a top employer, SISD should be creating employee pipelines that afford individuals the opportunity to gain experience and grow within the district. Example: Student workers, part-time staff, full-time staff, faculty, and campus/district professionals.

How would you address the district’s enrollment trends?

Joshua Carter Guerra: Meet with the community on a monthly basis – town hall style meetings. Let them know the great opportunities that we provide as a district. SISD is the best place to be.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: Yes, we need to stop losing enrollment to the private industry which takes funds away from our public schools and specially students with special needs.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: As a growing district, monitoring and managing enrollment trends is critical to the success of Socorro ISD. During my tenure on the board, we have successfully managed enrollment trends by building new schools that allow for growth in strategic locations, methodically shifting attendance boundaries to balance campus enrollment, and informing the community and pursuing bonds, when appropriate.

Marivel Macias: I would collaborate with our Team of 8 to request a comprehensive yearly enrollment analysis with district and campus projections. This information will allow Socorro ISD administration to create/update their Facilities Master Plan and propose timely school boundary adjustments. This meticulous, data-driven, and strategic planning and forecasting will ensure the district maximizes the use of its existing facilities before requesting funding to develop and open new facilities.

How would you respond to special interest groups or parents who want to limit access to existing curriculum or library books they perceive to be in conflict with their personal beliefs?

Joshua Carter Guerra: I support individuals advocating for their child and I support them making decisions based off of that. I don’t think it is anyone’s role to try and limit access to books off of personal beliefs. Everyone is free to make decisions that are best for their family.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: We need to leave our education to the experts and not to special interest groups.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: In Texas, parents have the final say. The role of our schools is to provide for a complete education ensuring access to the materials necessary to support that effort. If parents do not want their child exposed to anything specific, there are already practices in place to accommodate such requests.

Marivel Macias: All SISD stakeholders, whether a special interest group and/or parent, have the right to professionally and respectfully voice their personal beliefs via open forum. As a board trustee, it will be my duty to actively listen and request for the superintendent to address their concerns if a formal grievance is yet to be filed as per policy GF or FNG (local). Before an action item is on the agenda, I will thoroughly research and review local/legal policies on limiting access to guide my response. 

Aside from free breakfast/lunch programs and after-school care through partner organizations, what other resources and social services should schools offer the community to help ensure overall student success?

Joshua Carter Guerra: I think VSP – Volunteer Sports Program is a great program that helps with student success inside and outside the classroom. We need to bring awareness to these great programs.

David Ayala: No response.

David Morales: No response.

Miguel Rico: We need to increase funding for VSP – Volunteer Sports Program – in order to provide access to any sport to every child, especially to those who are financially limited.

Jose Alonzo: No response.

Michael Najera: COVID helped expose needs our students previously hidden. Nutrition and a safe learning environment do not begin/end at school. There’s a need for wrap-around services like access to laptops/wi-fi, nutritious meals away from school, educational opportunities for the adults in the home, etc. The fact that we are beyond the dire straits of COVID does not change those needs. The district should identify and partner with other organizations to support the advancement of generational opportunities.

Marivel Macias: Schools are the epicenter of a community. A designated campus within the neighborhood should be identified as a community school that collaborates with all stakeholders to offer food pantries, health services, uniform swaps, lending libraries, supper programs, before- and after-school literacy and enrichment programs (i.e., gardening, sowing, cooking, chess, homework hubs, etc.). The collaborative offerings are co-designed using campus, community and social service resources.

Read more about this race

Socorro ISD trustees poised to fire police chief

Superintendent Nate Carman is recommending that SISD trustees terminate Police Chief Jose Castorena on Tuesday due to “incompetency,” “inefficiency” and “insubordination.” The chief says he’s being retaliated against for investigating a trustee.

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