Wednesday night, Dr. Jose Espinoza announced his resignation as Superintendent of Schools for the Socorro Independent School District.
According to SISD officials, an agreement has been reached which allows Dr. Espinoza the ability to pursue other interests and permits the Board to pursue hiring another Superintendent.
The Board and Dr. Espinoza have entered into the agreement believing it is in the best interests of the Socorro Independent School District.
“When I was hired in 2012, it was love at first sight for me when I met all the outstanding students, employees, and community of Socorro ISD. I knew from day one that this was a place I wanted to raise my kids and be a part of for many years. I thank all of our school community for nine amazing years of achieving success as a team. I fully understand that when a new board majority is elected, they want to hire their own superintendent. I am confident that Socorro ISD will continue its legacy of success and teamwork under new leadership. My wife and I take with us countless memories that we will cherish forever of our amazing journey with Team SISD,” said Superintendent Espinoza.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Board President, Cynthia Najera, praised the superintendent for his unique ability to build a strong sense of unity and teamwork both within the district and between the district and the community.
“On behalf of the SISD Board, we express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Espinoza for his amazing commitment and dedication to our students and community while serving as Superintendent. He has led our schools and district to unprecedented success during his nine years in the district and united us to achieve success as a team. We wish Dr. Espinoza the very best in his new endeavors and will fondly remember him as a humble, hard-working leader who truly loved and advocated for our students as if they were his own children,” said School Board President Najera.
The rest of the body of the joint statement is below:
As a direct result of Dr. Espinoza’s numerous academic initiatives and programs, SISD’s student performance has consistently increased over the last nine years. In May 2012, SISD was behind the state in 9 out of 17 STAAR exams for students in grades three through eight. Flash forward and SISD students have now outscored the Texas passing rates in ALL 17 STAAR exams in grades three through eight for six consecutive years. Under Dr. Espinoza’s leadership, Socorro ISD is the largest school district in the state of Texas to earn both of the state’s top honors including an A grade and the prestigious Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation. Socorro ISD is the only district to reach this milestone in a pool of the largest 25 school districts in the state while notably serving an over 90% minority and over 70% economically disadvantaged student population.
During Dr. Espinoza’s tenure, Socorro ISD became the first district in a non-HEB market to earn the coveted HEB Excellence in Education Award for Outstanding Large District; earned an $800,000 W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant for the nationally recognized WIN Academy that he launched to support vulnerable children in the district; and won a $300,000 Raise Your Hand Texas Blended Learners Grant due to the district’s success in building blended learning environments for students.
Dr. Espinoza created the aforementioned WIN Academy to close achievement gaps and invest in our vulnerable students; initiated Operation College Bound to ensure all students had a path to college, including establishing new early college high schools at every one of our six comprehensive high schools; led our Operation Future Ready initiative to pave the path for successful blended learning; and, to ensure the highest standards of accountability, created a first-ever and first-of-its-kind Academic Internal Audit system to trust but verify our district’s compliance with state and federal regulations. In addition, he led the formation and passage of a $448.5 million Bond in 2017 to improve aging facilities, including the reconstruction of Socorro High School, and to keep up with community growth.
Dr. Espinoza has gone above and beyond to provide endless opportunities for our employees as well. Socorro ISD is widely regarded as the very best district in growing our own leaders under Dr. Espinoza’s leadership. Early on in his tenure, he launched a first-of-its-kind Leadership Academy in our region in which assistant principals were selected and prepared to become campus principals and district leaders. The majority, if not all, of SISD’s assistant principals who participated in its first-ever Socorro ISD Leadership Academy are either principals or district leaders in Socorro ISD or in another district in our region. Due to Dr. Espinoza’s guidance and never-ending encouragement, countless administrators have followed suit and grown professionally as well.
Other employee professional growth opportunities that Dr. Espinoza championed include the Nationally Recognized Building Friends for the Future (BFF) new teacher mentor program in which new teachers are paired with veteran teachers to ensure a great start to their profession, the Grow Your Own Grant that allows instructional aides to earn their bachelor’s degree and certification to transition into full-time teaching roles, a partnership with the University of Texas at El Paso in which our teachers and staff are provided with the opportunity to get their masters and doctoral degrees in the comfort of our own district facilities, and a TEA Principal Residency Grant that gives SISD teachers an innovative opportunity to participate in the Texas Tech Principal Fellows program.
Students and employees alike have benefited greatly from Dr. Espinoza’s vision of excellence. His proven record of success is widely admired and respected by our school community.
Notably, when the IDEA charter network opened its four new campuses near SISD’s boundaries, Dr. Espinoza launched a fierce and passionate team approach to educating our parents on differences between our public school district and charter schools. Modeling his data-driven approach after Jaime Escalante, he coordinated two “Stand and Deliver” walkathons in which about 3,000 employees visited nearly 14,000 homes to inform parents about why SISD was the right choice for endless opportunities. Dr. Espinoza won a 2019 Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Best in Writing Category Award for his editorial, “What the public isn’t told about charters’ 100 percent college acceptance rates.” As a result of Dr. Espinoza’s unique ability to inspire and unite our team with his Stand and Deliver initiative, IDEA opened its schools at under capacity.
Dr. Espinoza thanks the present and past Board of Trustees for providing him with the opportunity to serve the amazing students, parents, and community of Team SISD. He loves and will forever be grateful to the teachers, principals, administrators, staff, parents and patrons he has had the privilege to work with to provide all students endless opportunities to succeed. Dr. Espinoza is confident that the commitment of this great community to its children will ensure the continued success of our schools and community.
In closing, the Board extends its best wishes to Dr. Espinoza in his future endeavors. On its part, the Board will soon begin its search for a new Superintendent to continue district operations.