Mariachi, human resources directors leave VISD
July 16, 2013 at 2:16 a.m.
Updated July 17, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.
The Victoria school district continues filling vacancies as the first day of school, on Aug. 26, rapidly approaches.
The school board approved 56 new appointments and 28 resignations were recommended by the superintendent during a board meeting July 9. That was three days before the final cutoff date for resignations before employees are bound to their contracts for the school year.
The board is expected to approve hiring more employees Thursday at the next board meeting.
The district's mariachi director, Robert Rodriguez, and its human resources executive director, Eloy Chapa, were among those listed under professional resignations.
Rodriguez, 66, of Victoria, served as the founder and director of the district's mariachi program for the last 13 years.
The retiring director said he made about $50,000 a year as the district's mariachi director. He has chosen to retire to spend more time with his wife.
"He has done such a wonderful job," said Robert Jaklich, Victoria superintendent. "He really made a tremendous impact on many of the lives of our students."
On Tuesday, Rodriguez said he met with the district's new fine arts director Kenneth Peach to discuss the future of the program.
"We're going to try to find someone to keep it going," Rodriguez said. "I don't want to see the program go away."
The district will need to start recruiting more students from the middle school level to keep the program going, Rodriguez said.
"If you check out some of the programs in The Valley or San Antonio, they start in the fifth grade," Rodriguez said.
"You've got to start them early, so by the time they get to high school, they're already playing like professionals."
Former human resources executive director Eloy Chapa served the district for more than 20 years. He was making $90,571 per year before submitting his resignation, said Jaklich.
Former Victoria East High School principal Greg Crockett, now the principal at Cuero Junior High School, said he worked under Chapa as his assistant principal at Patti Welder Middle School.
"He was a great person to work for because I felt like I was always able to pitch ideas and was able to rely on him for guidance," Crockett said. "And then later, when we didn't work together on the same campus, I knew I could always pick up the phone and talk to him."
Chapa moved to the Goose Creek Consolidate School District in Baytown, where he is personnel director for high schools, central office and noncertified staff, Crockett said.
Chapa could not be reached for comment.
"The district owes Mr. Chapa a huge amount of gratitude and appreciation because he served in several leadership capacities across the years," Jaklich said. "He has set a bar and example for all of us to follow."
Mima Gonzales, formerly the assistant superintendent for elementary schools, replaced Chapa.
"Mima has extensive experience in working in human resources for seven years at the San Angelo school district," Jaklich said.
The superintendent said the administrative staff has been working diligently to hire the personnel needed for the next school year.
"We only have a few vacancies left," Jaklich said. "We have less than 12 spots left to fill."
Also Thursday, the board is expected to discuss the student code of conduct, area policy updates and grant applications made through the VISD Education Foundation.
"We're extremely excited about the direction our school district is headed," Jaklich said. "We have a great mixture of people coming in from within our system and others from an outside perspective that is going to make us even better."