Waelder ISD board installs new officers
WAELDER — Dora Noyola was installed as the new president of the Waelder Independent School Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
Noyola was nominated during the board’s reorganization, which comes on the heels of the recent school board elections. Delores Martinez retained her position as the board’s vice president, as did secretary Jo Ann Ibarra.
The board canvassed the election results during the meeting, verifying that Noyola and Diana Olmos outpaced the third place finisher, Mary Ayala. Noyola garnered 166 votes, while Olmos and Ayala tallied 136 and 82 votes respectively.
During the public forum Rafael Aguilar spoke in favor of Roger Booker, the social studies teacher and girls head basketball coach whose resignation was accepted by the board last month. He stated that as a fellow educator he is convinced that Booker is a valuable asset to the district and its students.
“I know what it takes to get these kids going and Mr. Booker has all of the tools,” Aguilar said. “He’s done a lot of things for this school, things that no other teacher has ever done. I don’t know why he’s not allowed to come back, but I know we’re losing a great teacher.”
Booker tendered his resignation after he was given the choice between doing that or accepting a non-renewal of his contract after the school year ends. He admitted the board’s decision to let him go initially left him baffled.
“I really don’t know why they did it,” he told the Cannon. “My athletic director never told me I was doing a bad job and on the academic side, nobody ever told me I was doing a bad job as a teacher.”
“I don’t know what it is. It can’t be about my performance because we’ve gotten better on the court. That’s not just my opinion. My peers and people in the community have told me the same thing. Academically, I got a 100 percentile score on the TAKS. I don’t know how you can do better than that.”
Booker said he was told to make his choice a couple of days before the April board meeting, which really didn’t give him enough time to properly digest the situation. He added that he was never given the chance to address the board on the matter.
“I asked for an opportunity to go in front of the board and they rejected my offer,” he said. “They said that policy states that I need to have a local address in order to ask to be heard.”
Booker recently made the decision to rescind his resignation, largely because of a conversation he had last week with a trustee whom he declined to identify.
“This person let it out that they would rather have a woman to coach the girls,” said Booker. “I think that’s the bottom line.”
The issue of Booker’s employment was not on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, which means it was not eligible for discussion. Until it is placed on a future agenda, the district considers the matter resolved and the resignation stands.
“When I first took this job Coach (Jarvin) Hall told me the position had basically been a revolving door for coaches, so the girls really haven’t had any continuity at all,” he said. “Here I am trying to stay and they’re wanting to get rid of me.”
“To me, it’s just a shame the way this whole thing went down because it wasn’t right. If they really cared about the girls’ program, then this wouldn’t be an issue.”
The whole state of affairs has left Booker frustrated and weighing his options, which could include bringing a lawsuit against the district.
“I was willing to just let it go, but then I heard that it was about me being a man and not about my abilities as a teacher,” he said. “This feels like discrimination to me, but I’m going to consult with my attorney and find out how he feels about it.”
In other business, the board:
* Received an update from district principal Mark Cantu, who reported that at least half of the graduating seniors have received scholarships with other offers still pending.
* Designated Chris Mendieta as a delegate for the Texas Association of School Board Conference, which will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Austin. Avery Williams was selected as the alternate.
* Set the district’s summer hours of operation. From May 30 to Aug. 8, the schedule will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Maintenance Office will operate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
* Announced that beginning next month, their meetings will be held on Mondays at 6 p.m.