PISD candidate questionnaire, part 2

PISD candidate questionnaire
Gabriela Hernandez

Tell us about yourself. What experience will you bring to this role?

My name is Gabriela Hernandez I am the mother of three wonderful children, two of whom are enrolled in school at Presidio Independent School District. My oldest son is a ninth grader at Presidio High School while my other son is an eighth grader at Lucy Rede Franco Middle School. I have been a resident of Presidio my entire life, and my husband and I both attended school here until we graduated from Presidio High School in 2004. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice that I earned at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. 

As of now, I am a stay-at-home mother dedicated to providing my children all the necessities required to enhance their success in their education. I am here to be a voice for all the people who feel that their concerns are not being heard and an advocate for teachers who, at times, feel harassed by the current administration. I will be proactive in helping find the adequate solutions to given situations within the district as permitted by my role.

With school district budgets limited, what do you see as a priority for the upcoming budget cycle?

A priority for me for this upcoming budget cycle is for our students to have access to the adequate materials and technologies that are needed to promote their success. Our teachers’ needs and suggestions should be taken into consideration during the planning process, as they are the face of their classrooms and know what is needed by them to help enhance our children’s learning environment. 

The safety of our children and staff is also of concern due to the influx of illegal immigrants entering our community. And, though the current number of active  COVID-19 cases within the district may not seem high, maintaining all Center for Disease Control safety guidelines along with safety protocols as established by our school’s PISD Department of Public Safety is of great importance. 

Some residents have complained about a lack of transparency and responsiveness to parent, student and staff needs. For example, there were at least two instances last year where the school board appeared to violate state open-meetings rules. How can PISD improve its relationship and communication with the broader community?

To improve communication between the Presidio Independent School District and the community, transparency must take precedence. Parents should feel encouraged to partake in discussions that affect their children’s future and receive responses of all involved in a timely manner. Teachers and staff should feel welcome and supported when voicing concerns, not neglected, fearful of repercussions or dismissed.

Because of disruptions caused by the pandemic, students across the country have fallen behind on academics and missed out on social milestones. How would you as a board member address these academic and emotional needs?

Because COVID-19 has had such an impact across all educational levels, realistic expectations must be considered when analyzing pass/fail statistical data. Accommodations and recommendations will need to be addressed by a collaborative group of educators, administrators and school board members to find the best solution. 

Many students suffered and continue to suffer to this day emotionally, due to the lack of peer interaction and the changes they encountered once they returned back to in-person learning. Despite the negative outcomes this pandemic has impacted us with, I believe in the power of positive thinking and in finding unconventional methods to help meet social milestones without jeopardizing the health and safety of all involved.