Michelle Casillas, lawyer and founder of Casillas Lawfirm

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Why are you applying for the District 9 position?

Casillas, 30, said she thinks she can contribute to the board, and she wants to be more involved locally.

What qualifications do you have that make you a valuable candidate?

Casillas said she moved to this city five years ago and has gotten involved in the community by joining several boards.

She said she feels she can help the Alamo Colleges grow and bring in an outside viewpoint, which she said could lend itself to the board well.

Casillas said she has board experience with Annie’s List, which encourages and trains women to run for office and to run boards.

What makes you a good representative of the constituents of District 9?

Casillas said she could relate to students and the challenges they face in going to school because those challenges are still relevant to her. She was awarded a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

She said she could relate to students’ struggles with student loans.

Casillas said she served on the bond committee for the city of San Antonio, and it opened her eyes to the different issues various areas of the city face.

She said residents like to think of this city as one big community, but the Northeast Side has specific needs, being that the district is right on the county line.

How closely have you followed the board of trustees, and how well do you feel they function?

Casillas said she has followed the board more recently since the vacancy, but she said it is difficult to keep up with everything happening in this city.

She said there is always room for the board to improve because the work doesn’t go away.

Have you enrolled in any classes in the Alamo Colleges?

Casillas said she has not taken any classes in the Alamo Colleges.

However, Casillas said she lives and works close to this college, so she has been to the planetarium and used the tennis courts, saying she tries to come on campus regularly and learn a little more about it.

What are issues you are concerned about that you would like to see addressed by the board? Any special interest in the two colleges in your district?

Casillas said there’s always going to be work when it comes to higher education.

She said the cost of higher education and the myriad ways student success is defined are always at the forefront.

She said student success means different things for students because some are attending community college for a two-year degree and others are looking to transfer.

She said it is important that each college has a sense of community.

Casillas said she would like an open discussion among colleges and understands that each college will have its own goals and priorities.

How did you find out about the District 9 vacancy and application? Were you approached by a current board member? How do you know them?

Casillas, no relation to District 4 trustee Marcelo Casillas, said she does not have a relationship with any of the board members.

She said she found out about the vacancy and application during her work as an Annie’s List board member, saying she didn’t hear of anyone applying and thought she could contribute.

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