Socorro ISD board trustees sworn in at special meeting Wednesday evening

Five Socorro Independent School District board trustees were sworn in at a special board meeting on May 12, 2021 at the District Service Center.

A quick biography of each of the trustees follows below.

Pablo A. Barrera is the new District 5 representative. He is a product of the Socorro Independent School District and is a graduate of Americas High School Class of 2003.

Barrera joined the United States Marine Corps, in which he served for eight years with two combat tours — one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant from the Marine Corps. He worked as a federal agent with the federal government and retired honorably after eight years.

After retirement, he enrolled at Western Technical College and earned an Associate of Occupational Studies in Refrigeration and HVAC Technology. He has been married to his wife, Angie, for 17 years. She is also a product of SISD and graduated from Socorro High School. She is the mother of the couple’s four daughters, who attend SISD schools and range in grade level from elementary to high school.

Barrera’s involvement in the education setting began when he and his wife volunteered at their children’s school. They also were involved as advocates for students with disabilities. He also coached in after-school programs and served as the Watch D.O.G.S. coordinator at Hueco Elementary.

He currently is a member of the Ethics Board and Commission for the City of Socorro.

Ricardo “Richard” Castellano is the new District 3 representative. He was born in El Paso and graduated from Riverside High School. He has an associate degree in liberal arts from El Paso Community College and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Castellano has been married to his wife, Gabriela, for 30 years and they have three children together, all of whom have attended and graduated from SISD schools. Castellano is honorably retired from the El Paso Police Department after 29 years of service at the rank of lieutenant.

Paul Guerra is the District 4 representative and is serving his fourth term on the board. He is a former teacher in Canutillo ISD and a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. He has more than 20 years of experience in sales and management. Currently, he works for Insco Distributing as a Territory Manager.

In addition to his role as an SISD Trustee, Guerra served on the Planning and Zoning Committee for the City of Socorro, the Socorro Foundation Board of Directors and the Parks and Recreation Board for the City of Socorro. He also served previously on the SISD Citizens Oversight Committee and the SISD Teacher of the Year selection committee.

Guerra is also actively involved in the March of Dimes and Make-a-Wish Foundation. He and his wife Ann, a teacher at Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School, have triplets who attend Socorro High School and Eastlake High School.

Cynthia Ann Najera is the District 2 representative and is serving her fourth term on the board. She has been a Socorro ISD parent for the past 12 years and is a former parent liaison from Horizon Heights Elementary.

Najera is a District volunteer and past volunteer coordinator for Americas High School and Horizon Heights Elementary School. She and her husband, Luis, have two daughters. Their oldest is a graduate of Americas High School and their youngest daughter is a graduate of Eastlake High School.

Najera is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Horizon City.

Michael A. Najera is an at-large representative. He is Executive Director of Client Transformation at Change Healthcare, a provider of revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions in the U.S. healthcare system. He has over 25 years of healthcare finance and operations experience.

Najera has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA. A district parent and volunteer, Najera has been heavily involved with Socorro ISD since 2004. When not working or volunteering, Najera enjoys spending time with Gabby Gonzalez who first stole his heart in elementary. They will soon celebrate their seven-year anniversary. He has three daughters: Crystal, who attends Eastlake High School; Amber, who is a graduate of Eastlake High School and attends UTEP; and Leah, who is a graduate of Americas High School and has attended El Paso Community College.