Former Harlandale administrator named District 9 trustee

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Trustees cast five votes to appoint Joe Sanchez to the District 9 position Nov. 7 in Killen. Dr. Gene Sprague, Denver McClendon and Board Chair Yvonne Katz did not vote in favor of Sanchez. Lorena Torres Romero

Board Chair Yvonne Katz and Chancellor Bruce Leslie congratulate Joe Sanchez on his new position as District 9 trustee Nov. 7 in Killen. Lorena Torres Romero

The new trustee didn’t know this college was on accreditation warning status.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

After a 3 1/2 hour executive session, Joe Sanchez, juvenile probation department administrator and former subordinate to the board chair, was appointed to the interim District 9 position by five board members at the special board meeting Nov. 7 at Killen Center.

Board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, hired Sanchez as the director of personnel in the Harlandale Independent School District while Katz was the superintendent.

Sanchez retired from the Harlandale district in 2006 as the assistant superintendent of administration.

“I hired this man,” Katz exclaimed with a smile to district general counsel Ross Laughead after the board meeting.

Sanchez said he is capable of voicing opinions that may be in opposition to Katz, regardless of their previous working relationship.

“Dr. Katz is very professional,” Sanchez said. “I don’t think if we have any kind of different views, I don’t think she’s going to take anything personal. Not anymore than I would. … in order to clean a cat, you’ve got to rub them the wrong way first.” 

Board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, calls out the nominations for the District 9 position to the board of trustees for a vote. The board appointed Joe Sanchez Nov. 7 in Killen. Lorena Torres Romero

In an interview after the special board meeting, Sanchez said he has held positions on a board but not at the college level.

He predicted being a board member at the college level will carry a “different set of responsibilities,” saying he is a teacher but also a learner.

In an interview with Sanchez Nov. 5, Sanchez said the board has done an outstanding job working together, citing as an example the May 2017 bond issue passing by 70 percent.

The bond issue was passed by 67 percent of 10.71 percent of eligible voters in this city.

Sanchez said his only interest is to continue the good work the board is already doing, and he had no particular issues he wanted to address at this college or Northeast Lakeview College at the time.

Sanchez said he hadn’t followed the board for “years and years,” but he said it was obvious by reading the literature that the board has been working together well given the success of students and the graduation rates.

In an interview Sept. 19, District 8 trustee Kingsbery said he would like to see a trustee concerned with “real” student success rather than the state’s definition of student success, which he said is focused on graduation numbers and metrics.

Kingsbery said having a new trustee who is willing to “work with the consensus” would be nice.

He said the ideal candidate would be able to listen to the board, understand where the board is coming from and support the board’s efforts.

However, Kingsbery said he would prefer a candidate that wasn’t going to “rubber-stamp” everything.

“The discourse is important,” Kingsbery said. “That’s what creates the better decisions.”

In an interview after the special board meeting, Sanchez said he was aware that Northeast Lakeview College is in the process of obtaining accreditation “which is a darn good thing,” and he wants to meet with the college presidents to determine their vision for the different colleges.

Sanchez was not aware that this college, which falls in District 9, is on warning status for accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Legal council William Armstrong and district general counsel Ross Laughead wait for the appointment of the new District 9 trustee at a special board meeting Nov. 7 in Killen. The board of trustees appoint Joe Sanchez. Lorena Torres Romero

SACSCOC found this college and St. Philip’s and Northwest Vista colleges in violation of six Comprehensive Standards, including branding, leadership policy, handling of transfer credits, and the calculation of grade-point averages during a site-visit September 2016.

After the special board meeting, Kingsbery said the board members could not remember how the appointment voting process should go and had to read the policy, causing the closed session to last longer than expected.

After the executive session, Katz opened the floor for nominations, clarifying that each board member may vote once for each nominated candidate.

District 4 trustee Marcello Casillas nominated Sanchez, District 6 trustee Gene Sprague nominated William Wendell Hall and District 5 trustee Roberto Zárate nominated Charles Marshall Eads.

Katz repeated the list of nominated candidates and reminded the board each could cast one vote.

District 2 trustee Denver McClendon and Katz laughed as she suggested the board members think carefully before casting their votes.

A five-board member majority is required to appoint a trustee, and the voting process repeats until the majority is reached.

In the first round of voting, four board members voted for Sanchez, three members voted for Hall and one voted for Eads.

Katz called the board to vote again, reminding them to think carefully about their vote.

Sanchez received the five-member majority from all board members except McClendon, Katz and Sprague, appointing him to the interim District 9 position.

 

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