Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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20180817 VidaurriMeetnGreetThe Sharyland community had a chance to meet the new district superintendent at a meet and greet last week.

Held at the Mission Event Center Friday, Aug. 17, district officials and members of the public were given the opportunity to interact with district Superintendent Maria Vidaurri before the start of the new school year.

“I really wanted it to be that they understand that I am here to serve the community, staff and that I am approachable,” Vidaurri said of the event. “I value their input and together as a team, we will make Sharyland succeed in ways it hasn’t before.”

Vidaurri replaced Superintendent Robert O’Connor last May after he announced he was stepping down due to undisclosed health concerns.

Vidaurri has 33 years of experience in education and has worked at the independent school districts for the cities of Alice, Hidalgo, La Feria and even served Sharyland as the district’s federal programs director from 2008 through 2010. She has spent the last five years as superintendent of Robstown ISD near Corpus Christi.

The meet and greet occurred on the same week that the Texas Education Agency announced that the Sharyland school district was one of six school districts in Hidalgo County to achieve a perfect A rating in the latest state accountability ratings.

The ratings reflected the first official A through F grades for school districts across the state for 2017 performance. Vidaurri credited her predecessor for the A rating.

“The rating goes back to the excellence that is expected of the district,” Vidaurri said.

“We’re looking to see what areas we can improve on to ensure we are progressing in the way we should be.”

Sharyland school board Trustee Noe Oliveira said he believes the level of excellence reflected in the TEA rating for the district will continue through Vidaurri.

“Or it’ll even get better with our new super, that’s the plan from the board and Vidaurri herself,” Oliveira said.
Oliveira praised Vidaurri at the event, saying that she stood out from the 42 candidates who were interviewed for the superintendent position.

“We interviewed so many great candidates so for her to stand out says a lot about her,” Oliveira continued. “She’s really well developed and does a good job. She interviewed well and had the statistics behind her to prove she can move up and run a district of this size.”

Among members of the public who attended the meet and greet were former Sharyland school board member Paul Rodriguez. He served on the Sharyland school board from 2000 through 2009 and currently serves as the chairman of the board for South Texas College.

“I am impressed with Vidaurri, she is well spoken, prepared and educated and the people I work with who are familiar with her have nothing but great things to say about her,” Rodriguez said. “This is an individual coming in with a great attitude. There is nothing more important than that, she’s obviously very well prepared and skilled at her job.”

Julie Carranza, principal at B.L. Gray Junior High School, was among the attendees at the event. She and other campus principals were at the event to show support for Vidaurri, Carranza said.

“We have her back, you can tell she really cares about the community because she’s been here before and you can tell she wants the best for her kids,” Carranza said. “I’m hoping she continues to build relationships with the community. We’ve had a lot of changes in the district and I hope she brings stability, she’s coming in to help with what’s already there.”

Vidaurri credits being a former employee at Sharyland to better prepare her for role as superintendent.

“Having been here before, it gave me a heads up on the culture, what the district was like and the expectations so it’s not like I started over,” she said. “My vision here is to be very focused in what we do to make and expand opportunities for our students. We’re looking at our curriculum, we’re looking at ways of developing that to ensure we have expanded our opportunities for all our students to succeed.”