Wednesday, July 5, 2017


"Don't worry, boys, we'll weather this storm of approval and come out as hated as ever." Saul Alinsky, founder of the Industrial Areas Foundation.

By Juan Montoya
The members of the board of the Texas Southmost College must be saying that to themselves after the the Brownsville Herald, which has historically criticized them, printed  a lead laudatory editorial in its Sunday Viewpoints page.

In it, the writer praises them for doing the presidential search "right" and applauding their efforts at openness by scheduling town-hall meetings where the community can meet the four finalists and participate in the selection.

This is somewhat disconcerting of a newspaper which published articles in the past where they disclosed that two complaints had been filed with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges complaining that some of the board had overstepped their authority and gotten involved in micromanaging the college while Lily Tercero was president.

We noted in the past that the article did not include the name of the complainers, and wondered why. We also noted that the two people filing the complaint were none other than current trustee Dr. Rey Garcia and former TSC trustee Rene Torres.

It is refreshing to note that the daily now praised the board's approach of hiring an educational consultant to manage the process and published the resumes of the four finalists. Unlike some local boards, the editorial continued, TSC did not defy the requirement by naming a single candidate and not releasing information on any other candidate.

blank-imageIt's interesting to note here that one of those boards is none other than the board of trustees of the Brownsville Independent School District. That board made the right noises when the last superintendent left and current superintendent Esperanza Zendejas was appointed as interim superintendent. This happened before the last BISD election and they promised to hire a consultant to guide the nationwide search, to hold town hall meetings, to appoint a community advisory committee to assist with the search, and to consider any and all candidates who applied.

Juan They did nothing of the kind. Instead, they had Zendejas turn in a bare-bones outline of her past employment and voted at a later meeting to make her permanent superintendent without considering other candidates. It apparently helps, at the BISD, to have friends in the right places.

 As the editorial on TSC points out, this type of selection process – which was no process at all – deprives the community, the people whose taxes fund the institutions and whose children's education are affected by the selection from knowing if someone with a stronger resume might have applied.

Ruben-HerreraThere was some backbiting from a few trustees because they felt slighted by not being appointed to the selection committee. But there will always be criticism, as the TSC board well knows. And it's refreshing to know that – unlike so many other governmental entities locally – it's not what your last name is or who you know in the bureaucracy that is guiding the process. The board voted to appoint the executive committee composed of Adela Garza, Trey Mendez and Ruben Herrera as President, Vice-President and Secretary.

The new president will have his hands full. He will have to provide the college the administrative stability it so desperately has been seeking. And,as the editorial writer pointed out, one of his first challenges will be to re-establish TSC's nursing program, a principal program that lost its accreditation last year.

But this board seems to be turning the corner on returning to its mission to provide accessible, affordable educational opportunities to the residents of the district. It has inked Memorandums Of Understanding with the City of Brownsville, the Brownsville Police Dept. to train police officers, the Brownsville Fire Dept. to train paramedics, as well as opened new online programs and reached out to communities like Los Fresnos and Port Isabel, among others. They even reached an agreement with the Tamaulipas Dept. of Education.

The agreement with the Tamaulipas Secretary of Education will allow both parties to "begin exploring exchanges with students, professors, creating symposiums and workshops and events geared towards the mutual interests of both countries, but also, specifically, at the institutions they represent and TSC..."

The work is paying off. TSC broke its own record by increasing its enrollment to 5,394 students for the spring 2017 semester. Last fall, TSC surpassed the 5,000-student enrollment mark for the first time since the college re-opened in fall 2013. TSC enrolled 5,051 students in the fall 2016 semester.

The public forums are scheduled at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. July 12 and 13 at the TSC Arts center. The public is invited to participate in the selection process. We'll see you there.


Anonymous said...

"It is not what your last name is" that is guiding the process. Did you read that Zabaleta?

Anonymous said...

Oh chit! If the Herald thinks things are going well over there, then TSC must be in real trouble.

Anonymous said...

Why did it take NINE months to start the process? It should have started immediately. It took a lot of prodding and --s kicking to get it going. TSC was set back three years as a consequence. A total lacks of leadership. One whole school year in limbo. A purely selfserving board at its best!

Anonymous said...

Bueno, que traes con Dr. Z. She is only supt in the valley and Texas who has been hired twice by the same district and I, for one, do not
think it is because she does not know what she is doing. She is not perfect and neither of us is, but at least she tries to do things for the children and includes the community who supports her 100% - well,
at least those that count and hold no grudges. Let her do her job and continue to get national recognition from everyplace. Son los mejicanos que no pueden ver que in mejicano suba mas que ellos. She works her fingers to the bone and does not watch the clock like all the others who disappear at 4:59. Never mind the stupid long meeting that are held until 2 or 3 in the morning because one board member submits 23 items she wants to chingar with.