By Sergio Medina
Joe Jesse Sanchez, 70, considers his background in education a strong point of his candidacy.
Sanchez was appointed to the position in November after the death of District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss. A trustee appointed rather than elected must run in the next election to finish the term. The term for the District 9 trustee ends in 2020.
“I’ve been in education for 45 years,” he said. “I’ve been a teacher; I’ve been a vice principal; I’ve been a high school principal; I’ve been a director and, when I retired, I was assistant superintendent for Harlandale Independent School District.
“All my career, I have dealt in education; I have dealt with students and I have dealt with, you know, running opportunities for students. Education has been my life.”
Sanchez said his focus is understanding people’s views of the Alamo Colleges and showing his willingness to represent them.
Sanchez said he familiarized himself with neighborhood associations in his district such as the Monte Vista Historical Association and Tobin Hill Community Association. He has also come to know his respective councilman and organizations such as the Northeast Partnership.
Sanchez said that the board as a whole takes responsibility for actions.
“I have no authority as a board member,” he said. “Our authority comes from being a board and not from being a board member.
“That’s something that some folks may not understand,” he said. “I can’t call Dr. (Robert) Vela and say, you know, ‘Fix that hole in that wall, Dr. Vela.’ It looks bad.”
Sanchez said he can legally relay issues to the chancellor, who would follow up.
He said some of the issues the board has to work on are more articulation with school districts.
“I realize that we do meet with superintendents,” he said. “I think we need to go beyond that. I think we need to let their boards know specifically how their students are doing in our colleges because that’s important to them just as it’s important to us.
“The other thing, I think, that we need to look at is our dual credit program,” he said.
“The dual credit program has been a shot in the arm for our community and for our students.”
Sanchez referred to the board’s concern regarding the program’s sustainability.
He said state funding for the colleges has decreased during the past decade, saying the board should address this with elected officials.
He said his duty to his constituents is to gather their input as all trustees should.
“When we make a budget, we make a budget for the entire district,” he said. “When we make policy, we make policy for the entire district. It’s a consensus.”
Other than family, Sanchez said nobody encouraged him to run, but his familiarity with District 5 trustee Roberto Zárate was “in a way” encouraging.
“Mr. Zárate and I, for example, worked with the Edgewood School District several years ago, when I was principal,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was principal of Memorial High School 1983-91.
Other work experience includes being a science teacher at the San Antonio Independent School District, adjunct at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and administrator at the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department.
Sanchez said this college was the first higher education institution he attended after graduating from John F. Kennedy High School.
Sanchez is a graduate of St. Mary’s University. He obtained a master’s degree in education administration from Our Lady of the Lake University.