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Home | Tag Archives: Ysleta ISD (page 3)

Tag Archives: Ysleta ISD

Video: Struck by stray bullet in Juarez, Dolphin Terrace student gets a new kidney

A Dolphin Terrace Elementary School student is now back home with a new kidney after a stray bullet struck him in Juarez leaving him severely injured.

Gael Canizales was shot in 2018. The bullet caused severe damage to his kidney and left him unable to walk and attend school.

On November 22, Gael arrived at the El Paso International Airport with a new kidney he received in San Antonio.

Gael’s kindergarten teacher and school staff from Dolphin Terrace Elementary School gathered at the airport to welcome him as he arrived.

Video courtesy of YISD

Gael gets a big hug from his Kindergarten teacher Sandra Shields

Parent meetings scheduled for perspective YWLA students

Officials with the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) in the Ysleta Independent School District announced that they will be holding six mandatory information sessions beginning November 20 for parents interested in enrolling their daughters for the 2020-2021 school year.

YWLA Principal Malinda Villalobos will speak in detail about the school, its core values, programs, and course offerings, as well as logistical information such as transportation. Parents will have the opportunity to speak with YWLA administrators before receiving an application packet.

The information sessions are free and open to any current fifth-grade girl and their families. In addition, limited spaces are available for current sixth grade girls who are interested in enrolling at YWLA for seventh grade.

All students interested in enrolling in YWLA must be in good academic and behavioral standing at their current school, live in El Paso County, and complete an application packet to be considered for enrollment. Deadline for applications is Friday, January 17, 2020.

Information sessions will be held according to the following schedule:

6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at YWLA, 8040 Yermoland Drive
6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 at YWLA
9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at YISD Central Office Mission Room, 9600 Sims Drive
6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at YWLA
6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, at YWLA
9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, 2020, at YISD Central Office Mission Room

To RSVP for an upcoming information session, or for more information, parents should call the YWLA office at 915-434-1300.

YISD’s De La Torre earns 2nd statewide education appointment

Already serving as the current Chair of the Texas Urban Council (TUC) of Superintendents, Ysleta ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre has agreed to continue his service in a statewide capacity in 2020 as President of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS).

As such, Dr. De La Torre currently serves as both TALAS President-Elect and TUC Chair – two distinguished statewide appointments that strive to advocate for minority students, particularly those in high poverty, through legislative representation and public support for students.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen once again to serve in such an esteemed role,” said Dr. De La Torre, who has led Ysleta ISD as superintendent since March 2014. “The leadership of our elected officials was critical in making students a priority in the state’s legislative session earlier this year, resulting in multimillion-dollar revenue increases that made it possible for districts to offer generous pay raises to employees, especially teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses.”

“I am greatly encouraged by the Legislature’s commitment to public education, and I am committed in both of my roles with TUC and TALAS to ensuring we do all we can to proudly serve our Texas students and families.”

TALAS was founded as a statewide association for the identification, recruitment, development, and advancement of Latino school administrators in order to improve public education in general for all students, with an emphasis on improving the educational and career opportunities of Latino youth.

In Texas, 50% of school-aged children are Latino – and addressing the needs of this fastest-growing community is vital to the interest of not only Texas, but the United States, TALAS officials say.

De La Torre has a 32-year history of dedicated service to large, diverse student populations, and a career chronicled by recognized achievements and awards, including an El Pasoan of the Year nomination (2016); two Broad Prize Award finalist nominations (2009, 2010); and the Edgar L. Morphet Award for the nation’s most outstanding dissertation aimed at educational issues (2005).

During De La Torre’s tenure at YISD, the district’s most vulnerable student groups have seen increased achievement under the state of Texas’ STAAR/EOC accountability system. English Language Learners and Special Education students have routinely outperformed their peers in the region and across the state, while student achievement on the state’s End of Course exams has led the region and the state when considering comparable school districts and demographics.

Eastwood High student named semifinalist for National Merit Scholarship Program

Sarunas Budreckis, a senior at Eastwood High School, is among 16,000 academically talented U.S. students who have been named semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The honor qualifies him to apply for more than $31 million in college- and corporate-funded scholarships that will be offered next spring.

Sarunas won this prestigious academic honor after earning among the country’s highest scores on the PSAT, which was taken by more than 1.5 million juniors last year. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1% of U.S. high school seniors.

He will now begin the rigorous application process to become a National Merit Scholar.

To become a finalist, the semifinalists and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

About 90% of National Merit semifinalists will go on to be named finalists in early 2020, and about 50% of finalists will ultimately win a National Merit Scholarship and earn the title of National Merit Scholar, officials said.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered this spring.

Officials say 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships will be awarded on a state-representational basis; about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarships will be provided by corporations and business organizations; and about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarships for finalists who subsequently attend those institutions.

6 YISD counselors win Lone Star award for outstanding programs

Six counselors in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) have earned statewide accolades for their outstanding and comprehensive counseling programs at four schools – Dolphin Terrace, Ramona, and Scotsdale elementary schools, and Indian Ridge Middle School – from the Lone Star State School Counselor Association (LSSSCA).

The six counselors each received 2019 Bronze Awards from the LSSSCA during its annual two-day conference in Frisco, which ended Tuesday. The award-winning counselors are:

Lorena Soto (Dolphin Terrace Elementary)
Cynthia Ibarra (Ramona Elementary)
Leslie Spencer & Pat Tellez (Scotsdale Elementary)
Debbie Walker & Mike Enriquez (Indian Ridge Middle School)

LSSSCA officials selected the six YISD counselors for the Bronze Award after they demonstrated success in their counseling programs in a variety of areas, such as being data-driven; focusing on goal completion; and aligning with then national school counseling model.
Overall, LSSSCA evaluates school counseling programs in 12 areas:

Belief Statement
Vision Statement
Mission Statement
Program Goals
Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success
Annual Agreement
Advisory Council
School Counseling Core Curriculum Action Plan & Lesson Plans
School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report
Small-Group Responsive Services
Closing-the-Gap Results Report
Program Evaluation Reflection
Social Emotional Learning

LSSSCA’s awards system consists of three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Each award has increasing levels of rigor designed to elevate school counselor programs to national recognition through the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) awards.

Lancaster students participate in live video conference with Pro Football Hall of Fame

Students at Lancaster Elementary School participated in a live video conference with a representative from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The museum is not only a Hall of Fame institution, but also a football museum. Only the most elite players are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“The students prepared targeted questions in advance and practiced presenting their question so when they were ‘live’ in front of the web camera they could easily interact with the presenter,” YISD officials shared. “They learned about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the type of museum it is, and the induction process.”

The Hall of Fame offers a youth educational programs which allows students to learn about the Hall of Fame and interweaves the science and history of football to compliment the curriculum.

According to their website, the Pro Football Hall of Fame offers award-winning video conferencing programs.

The use of video conferencing technology allows students from across the globe to connect with the Hall of Fame to learn more about pro football’s rich history. Like the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s field trips, these programs are aligned with Common Core/National Standards of Education.

The Hall of Fame’s video conferencing program has received international recognition as a Pinnacle Award winner through the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC).

YISD sends 3 marching bands to UIL 5A state competition

Next week, the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) will send three marching bands from Bel Air, Del Valle, and Hanks high schools to San Antonio to compete for the UIL 5A state championship, thanks to their superb performances during last weekend’s area competition in Odessa.

By comparison, only one other El Paso-area high school marching was able to qualify for the state competition, which takes place Monday, November 4, at the Alamodome in San Antonio. This is the second consecutive time that three YISD marching bands qualify for state.

In 2017 – the last time the 5A UIL state marching band competition was held – YISD made local history when these same high schools earned a ticket to compete in the state championship.

At that time, Hanks High School placed 15th in the state competition; Bel Air High School placed 19th; and Del Valle High School placed 34th.

This year, about two dozen high school marching bands from El Paso to Wylie competed at the 5A Area A competition in Odessa on October 26.

Four YISD bands were among the top 10 that advanced to the area finals – but in the end, Hanks High School won first place and was named area champion, followed by Bel Air High School in third place and Del Valle High School in fourth place.

Listed below is information on the YISD bands and their performance times (in order) at Monday’s state competition:

Bel Air High School: The Big Red Pride Marching Band is scheduled to perform its show, “Beyond The Clouds,” at 12:30 p.m. MST. They are led by Drum Majors Belanna Castillo, Kayla Priego, Alizae Nevarez, and directed by Manny Talamantes, Ben Perez, Luis Ibarra, Derek Andrade, Oscar Ortiz, Mathew Peña, Melina Bañuelos, Lucy Bañuelos, and Kimberly Favela.

Hanks High School: The Silver Knights Marching Band is scheduled to perform its show, “Sultana: City of Gold,” at 2:45 p.m. MST, led by Drum Majors Mariana Martinez, Michael Soto, and Kristel Holguin. Directors and Flag Coaches are Horacio Gomez, Doug Brown, Emily Petty, and Calvin Edwards; the Renaissance Dance Co. is directed by Krystal Nance.

Del Valle High School: The Conquistador Marching Band is scheduled to perform its show, “What We Sea,” at 5:30 p.m. MST. They are led by Drum Majors Alejandro Gonzalez, Ashley Campos, Eric Rios, Alexandrea Solis, and directed by Keith Morales, Roque Orozco, Robert Hayden, Mathew Fernandez, Brianna Ayala, Michael Slabe, Diego Calderon, Nicholas Martinez, Maria Carbajal, Albert Valles, Gabby Rivera, Carlos Briseno, Armando Torres, and Thomas Holguin.

Ysleta ISD educator wins 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year

Michelle Sandoval, an eighth-grade math teacher at Parkland Middle School in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), has been named the 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, besting hundreds of her peers to win the state’s highest honor for middle- and high-school teachers.

“I feel so humbled and blessed and empowered to represent The District,” Sandoval, a 12-year teaching veteran, has said. “All of the other teachers I’ve met during this process have been amazing.”

Sandoval was named the winner by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) during a special awards ceremony and luncheon Friday in Austin, which honored the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year and the top six state finalists – three for the elementary level and three for the secondary level.

A separate winner was named as the 2020 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.

YISD officials shared that this marks the sixth time that a YISD teacher has won Texas Teacher of the Year – that’s more than any other school district in the state.

Sandoval first won Secondary Teacher of the Year honors at the campus, district, and regional levels before being named a state finalist in August with two others: Kami Dodds of Brady ISD and Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD.

Sandoval says her enthusiasm for education is still as present as the day she stepped inside the “energetic and loving” classroom of her first-grade teacher.

“She was a first-year teacher, and she was the ultimate example of an educator and true role model that I still aspire to be,” said Sandoval, who holds a bachelor’s degree from UTEP. “Her impact on my life was grand. I knew I wanted to become a teacher who would touch the lives of so many young minds.”

In addition to teaching, Sandoval also serves as a coach and Student Council sponsor, and always greets her students with a fist bump and high-five to get their class time started.

The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in education since 1969. The annual program, facilitated by TASA since 2011, recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.

from left; Parkland MS Principal Dr. Angela Reyna, Michelle Sandoval, YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre, former PMS Principal Javier Salgado


Michelle Sandoval & Parkland Middle School Principal Dr. Angela Reyna

School of Nursing’s early-admission program expands to Bel Air High School

Bel Air High School students now have a fast track to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, thanks to a partnership between the Ysleta Independent School District, El Paso Community College and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Bel Air students who enroll in the program will be given conditional acceptance to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing’s Accelerated B.S.N. program. By taking prerequisite college courses while in high school with EPCC dual credit courses, they will be on track to earn their B.S.N. in just 16 months after high school graduation.

“We are honored to join Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and El Paso Community College to provide a new pathway toward a college degree for our motivated Health Professions students at Bel Air High School,” said Xavier De La Torre, Ph.D., superintendent of schools at the Ysleta Independent School District.

“As we continue to make advancements in technology and innovation, it is apparent that high school graduation is no longer the finish line for many of our students,” De La Torre said. “This is why it is so important for YISD to provide not only relevant and rigorous instruction in core academic subjects, but career and technical training that students need to compete in the global workforce.”

Bel Air is the first YISD school to participate in the early-admission nursing program. Franklin High School and Maxine Silva Health Magnet High School in the El Paso Independent School District also offer the early-admission nursing program.

Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., M.B.A., R.N., assistant dean at the Hunt School of Nursing, said participating students can take all of their required university prerequisites while in high school and earn an Associate of Arts Degree through our program partner El Paso Community College.

“Our vision at the Hunt School of Nursing is to create the future of the local nursing workforce by providing seamless pathways to a B.S.N. degree for the entire El Paso community,” Santa Cruz said. “With college dual-credit conferred by El Paso Community College, we can now make this a reality for high school programs.”

Bel Air students interested in pursuing the path to an accelerated B.S.N. would need to start taking the college courses during their freshman year of high school.

“The B.S.N. pathway for YISD students at Bel Air is yet another example of the strong collaboration El Paso Community College has with our K-12 and university partners in the region,” said Tonie Badillo, dean of the Dual Credit and Early College High Schools program at El Paso Community College. “We are hopeful that this carefully developed pipeline will help meet workforce demands.”

These partnerships help TTUHSC El Paso address critical, statewide nursing shortages. By 2022, about 20,000 registered nurses will be needed in Texas, with a shortage of nearly 3,000 nurses in West Texas alone.

The Hunt School of Nursing is working to bring the early-admission nursing program to high schools in the Canutillo and Socorro Independent School Districts.

Ysleta ISD to host seven community Bond Information Nights

Beginning next week, voters in the Ysleta Independent School District will have the opportunity to learn more about district’s Bond 2019 referendum at one of seven Bond Information Nights.

In August, the YISD Board of Trustees voted to place a $425 million bond proposal on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election.

Projects included in the bond proposal are safety and security improvements districtwide; upgrading campuses with evaporative air units to refrigerated air conditioning; the building of a new middle school for the Hanks area; new elementary school in the Riverside area; rebuild Scotsdale ES; and renovate the oldest parts of Dolphin Terrace ES.

Early voting begins Monday, October 21 and runs until Friday, November 1, with Election Day on Tuesday, November 5. Voters can learn more about YISD Bond 2019 by visiting

All Bond Information Nights will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held according to the following schedule:

Monday, Oct. 21, Tierra Del Sol ES Cafetorium, 1832 Tommy Aaron Drive
Tuesday, Oct. 22, Eastwood HS Theatre, 2430 McRae Blvd.
Wednesday, Oct. 23, Bel Air HS Cafeteria, 731 Yarbrough Drive
Thursday, Oct. 24, Parkland MS Gymnasium, 6045 Nova Way
Monday, Oct. 28, Thomas Manor ES Cafeteria, 7900 Jersey Street
Tuesday, Oct. 29, Ysleta HS Auditorium, 8600 Alameda Ave.
Wednesday, Oct. 30, Del Valle MS Gymnasium, 8660 North Loop Drive

YISD celebrates the arts during 2019 Fall Festival

From student dance and song performances to a pop-up art gallery, the 2019 YISD Elementary School Fine Arts Fall Festival is expected to draw thousands of parents, students, and community members Friday and Saturday in support of the arts.

The festival takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. both Friday, October 18, and Saturday, October 19, at the YISD Fine Arts Department, 8455 Alameda Avenue.

According to the National Art Education Association, students of all ages benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. A quality arts education – made up of a rich array of disciplines that include dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts – is an essential element of a balanced education for all students, officials said.

“All students come to the table with some level of inherent talent,” said Fine Arts Director Scott Thoreson. “It’s up to the teacher to mold, grow and encourage that talent and assist the student into being the best they can be.”

For those reasons, officials say that’s the reason Ysleta ISD organizes the annual Fine Arts Fall Festival – to demonstrate districtwide support for the arts, as well as showcase the outstanding talents of its students while bringing together families and the community in a fun and festive atmosphere.

This year’s festival features a bevy of student entertainment and activities, including musical numbers, dances, cheers, theatrical skits, and a “Pop-Up Galeria” of 250 student art projects.

Every YISD elementary school will be represented in the festival, and will be complemented by performances from the Ysleta High School folklorico group; Mariachi Los Trovadores from Hanks High School; and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy percussion and dance group.

Aside from the student entertainment, there will also be a free photo booth and a Del Valle High School Haunted House.

Food, beverages, and arts and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as $5 day passes for all rides, including bounce houses and an obstacle course. Horse/pony rides are also available for an additional fee.

Last year’s festival was the most successful yet, said organizer and Fine Arts Communication Specialist Adam Ulloa, drawing more than 4,000 visitors to cheer on over 800 student performers.

“Everything seems to have grown exponentially over the past few years,” Ulloa said. “I am just really glad to be part of an event that brings so many families together.”

Ysleta ISD names Menchaca as Associate Superintendent

On Wednesday afternoon, officials with the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) announced the appointment of Rosa Maria Mireles Menchaca as the new Associate Superintendent of High Schools.

Menchaca began her professional career in 1988 as an English teacher at Riverside Middle School, and has since held positions as dean of instruction, assistant principal, and principal in the El Paso area.

In 2017, Menchaca began serving as Academic Compliance Officer at YISD. In addition to those duties, she has also served as interim Associate Superintendent of High Schools for the past few months.

Menchaca holds a bachelor’s degree in English and two master’s degrees, all from UTEP.

UTEP, Community Leaders launch new Teacher Residency Program with Local School Districts

On Thursday, officials with the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso and community leaders unveiled the Miner Teacher Residency Program, a full-year teacher placement designed to boost the readiness of aspiring teachers to better serve diverse students throughout the El Paso region.

With funding and technical support from University-School Partnerships for Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP), a national center funded by the Gates Foundation committed to high-quality university-based teacher preparation, UTEP is working with local school districts to pilot an innovative teacher preparation program within the College of Education.

Students seeking a teaching degree will now be eligible to take part in a one-year teaching residency program where they will spend an entire year in a real classroom, co-teaching with an experienced mentor teacher and engaged in an immersive coaching model led by field based UTEP College of Education faculty members. This will provide these aspiring teachers with the hands-on training and classroom management skills they’ll need before entering the workforce.

“This pilot effort is an incredibly important opportunity to provide student teachers with the most realistic, relevant, and rigorous preparation possible,” said Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education.  “We think this will be a game changer for our students and for the schools that hire them as first year teachers. Given the ‘closed loop’ educational ecosystem in El Paso – UTEP graduates comprise 75 percent of El Paso’s teachers, and El Paso students comprise 80 percent of UTEP’s student body – we expect this program to have a profound long-term impact.”

Aspiring teachers who go through the residency program will be part of an exciting paid internship initiative funded by Workforce Solutions Borderplex, the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), and the El Paso Community Foundation.

“Our partnership with these generous local organizations will allow our students to focus completely on their training and not have to work the ‘graveyard shift, after working in the schools all day, just to make ends meet,’ said Tanabe.

19 UTEP College of Education students will make up the first cohort participating in the residency program.  They will be placed within El Paso ISD and Socorro ISD classrooms and paired with seasoned and effective teachers to mentor them through their year-long program. The goal is to have all participants gain extended, hands-on practical teaching experience alongside a highly qualified, trained mentor teachers and faculty UTEP members, as well as priority consideration for full-time employment after they complete their residency.

“UTEP is a wonderful partner with EPISD in the development and training of innovative educators for the El Paso and West Texas region,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “The Miner Teacher Residency Program will further our combined efforts to provide the children of the Border with the best-prepared corps of teachers who will use the latest research-based techniques to help our students meet their academic goals.”

“Team SISD is proud to be part of this innovative program to further invest in our future educators,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “Our commitment is to ensure SISD has highly qualified and effective teachers and we provide numerous opportunities for aspiring teachers to succeed thanks to powerful partnerships, such as this one, with UTEP and other local organizations and agencies dedicated to improving our overall educational community in El Paso.”

The new initiative replaces UTEP’s previous semester-long teacher training program with more intensive year-long placements in high-performing local elementary schools.  It is based on the model pioneered in 2015 by US PREP, which has been utilized by programs at Texas Tech and Lubbock and the University of Houston, among others.

“CREEED was happy to facilitate the partnership between UTEP and US PREP earlier this year, and we are delighted to be supporting the new teacher residency program,” said Amy O’Rourke, Choose to Excel Director at CREEED.  “To improve education outcomes and increase educational attainment in our region, we must invest in our teachers and aspiring teachers so they have the tools, training, and experience they need to lead students in innovative and transformative classroom instruction.”

After the success of this pilot program, UTEP hopes to incorporate the full year of hands-on in classroom training as part of all future teacher graduate requirements.

“The further you go in education, the better your professional prospects; it’s that simple,” said Joyce Wilson, President & CEO of the Workforce Solutions Borderplex.  “If we want to attract high-paying jobs with advancement opportunities to El Paso, we need a workforce with the requisite level of training. That starts in elementary school with well-trained and experienced teachers.”

Student teachers under the semester approach and in the residency program will benefit from close supervision and regular feedback from teachers who will serve as their mentors and supervisors, all of whom were recruited, selected, and trained by UTEP.  In addition, each elementary school hosting residency students will also host two full-time clinical faculty members to serve as site coordinators and liaisons between UTEP and the school districts.

“We are excited to bring the proven US PREP model for teaching training to El Paso,” said Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations of The El Paso Community Foundation.  “The additional staff UTEP has hired to support the program will enhance communication, collaboration, and data sharing between the university and the school districts, making for a better experience for student teachers and better outcomes in their classrooms.”

Like the students they teach, most of the student teachers in the Miner Teacher Residency Program are Latinx and bilingual.  A committee made up of college and district representatives selected the finalists from a pool of 40 applicants based on GPA, faculty input, and the candidates’ openness to learn and seek feedback.

Riverside High names Ed Mena 2019 Distinguished Alumni

Riverside High officials say “You’re in good hands,” as they honor Class of 1983 Ed Mena as their 2019 Distinguished Alumni.

Mena is a corporate executive and entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience working in high-profile senior leadership roles. Ed currently runs two high-performing Allstate Agencies, operates a boutique co-working space, and is actively engaged in his local community.

Ed is a devoted single father to his three boys Cameron (26), Andrew (17), and Kevin (13), and is both an advocate and financial contributor to causes close to his heart.

Born in El Paso, Mena graduated Riverside High and then went on to receive a BA in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He remains active in both communities, and recently contributed $1,000 to Riverside’s Marquee Fund, as well as donations towards the purchase of tee-shirts for incoming freshman and athletic achievement banners for the gymnasium.

At the University of Texas Ed recently formed a permanent endowment, the L. Ed Mena and Sons Chancellor’s Excellence Endowment, which includes ongoing donations for five years followed by investment at the discretion of the chancellor.

Mena’s executive career began at US-based multinational insurance company AIG in 1996; where he quickly rose through the ranks to serve as the Chief Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean, where he held P&L responsibility for the $1.6 billion dollar business. He was responsible for 3,200 employees across 12 countries and managed the Miami office. Prior to this,  Mena served as the CEO for the company’s operations in Panama, Chile, and Mexico.

He currently runs two Allstate Agencies servicing over 4,200 customers with plans for future expansion across Texas.

The Allstate-Ed Mena Agency Inc. was named an Allstate Premier Service Agency, a designation awarded to the top 15% of agents in the nation. Ed also won the Honor Ring Award several times, and earned the Allstate Good Hands In The Community award 4 consecutive years for his work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a cause close to Mena’s heart, and he’s been an advocate and volunteer for the organization since 2013. His work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children expands beyond fundraising; he donates ample time advocating on behalf of the organization and speaking with parents of missing children.

In addition to his charitable endeavors, Mena has earned a variety of accolades for his professional work. In 2017 he was named Minority Businessperson of the Year by the West Austin Chamber of Commerce, and in the same year he was recognized by the Latino Leaders Magazine as one of the Top Insurance Agents for Latinos in the country.

In July 2018, Mena was nominated and subsequently selected for the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. This prestigious group engages in dialogue with the University’s Chancellor and executive leadership team regarding special initiatives and issues of importance to higher education in Texas, overseeing a 20-billion-dollar budget.

Click here for a list of Homecoming activities.

YISD kicks off Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at four schools

The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) will once again offer a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2019-20 school year at four campuses.

Capistrano, Cedar Grove, Constance Hulbert, and North Loop elementary schools were awarded more than $100,000 by the Texas Department of Agriculture to purchase fruits and vegetables for the program, which is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service and falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

District officials announced the return of the program earlier this week, adding that the program is an “effort to promote healthier eating habits and improve overall student well-being,”

The program kicked off for the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday at the four campuses, which will serve students fresh fruits and vegetables at various times during the school day on Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 28, 2020.

The goal of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is to introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables, to include new and different varieties, and to increase overall acceptance and consumption of fresh, unprocessed produce among children.

FFVP is consistent with and supports the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recommendations to provide healthier snack choices in schools.

The FFVP also encourages healthier school environments by promoting nutrition education. To learn more, visit the FFVP webpage.

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