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San Elizario ISD Selected for Inaugural Cohort for Raise Your Hand Texas Trustee Advocates Program

San Elizario ISD Board of Trustees
Left - Board President Sandra Licon.
From top left to right - Vice-President Myrna Hernandez, Trustee Eduardo Chavez, and Trustee Axel Lopez.
From bottom left to right - Board Secretary Michelle Garcia, Trustee Fernie Madrid, and Trustee Martin Chavarria.

SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – The San Elizario ISD Board of Trustees and the Superintendent are selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Raise Your Hand Texas Trustee Advocates Program. According to the Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT) website, the program aims to provide “Texas school boards and their superintendents the tools they need to find, use, and amplify the voices of their communities to influence state policy.” The RYHT is a non-partisan nonprofit organization founded in 2006 by Charles Butt.

In November of 2021, the San Elizario ISD Board of Trustees discussed applying for the opportunity during a regular board meeting. Shortly after, Board President Sandra Licon and Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez engaged in a virtual interview with Ms. Missy Bender, a Trustee in Residence with RYHT. The discussion centered on questions related to advocacy and how better to prepare trustees and superintendents for future legislative sessions.

The selection of the San Elizario ISD was one of 9 school districts selected from a total of 27 school districts that applied through the state of Texas. The San Elizario ISD Board President, Mrs. Sandra Licon, stated, "Excited for our trustees to have been selected to participate in the first inaugural Raise Your Hand Texas Advocacy Cohort; this is a humbling honor for our team to take our advocacy to another level and amplify our voices directly with legislators on key policy issues and priorities that affect or could benefit not only our district but the Region 19 as a whole."

The 18-month fellowship will consist of six sessions that will include an initial onsite “Team of 8,” with other sessions being two days for the trustees and their superintendent in Austin, Texas. Up to three trustees will be able to participate at a time. The grant funding will cover transportation, food, and accommodation costs, including a previous night’s stay. In addition, participants will obtain continuing education credits as RYHT is a Texas Education Agency-registered provider. Individuals who complete the course will receive the designation of Master Advocate.