By Dillon Holloway
Dr. Ramiro Nava, 44, executive director of Somerset Independent School District, is running for the second time.
Nava ran against District 5 incumbent Roberto Zárate in 2012, falling short by about 180 votes.
He said he spent the last six years building his résumé and staying involved with the community.
Nava earned a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2017.
“The reason I want to run is to make sure that we are servants to the students and the faculty that we serve and the community as a whole,” Nava said.
Nava is a former student of this college, earning an associate degree in liberal arts in 2002.
“I think I’m qualified because I can be the link between public school systems and college systems to make sure that we are allowing easy access and good pathways,” he said.
Nava said he is confident in his abilities to be successful if elected to the position.
“I just feel that I could definitely do a better job,” he said. “This isn’t anything against Mr. Zárate, who currently holds the position, but I feel that I’m current. I feel that I can relate and I feel that students these days are learning differently.”
District 5 incumbent Zárate has a record of supporting increases in tuition, Nava said.
“I always think that we need to be very frugal with taxpayers’ money because that is the bulk of the revenue that comes in,” he said.
“We really need to be looking at other costs, making sure that our administrative costs are low, making sure that our operational costs are low.”
He said the district must be more transparent.
“I think they need to be open with the responsibility that they have and not just take it for granted that there’s a low voter turnout,” he said.
Nava has been making himself available to District 5 constituents by block-walking and conducting door-to-door visits, he said.
“Very few people can tell me who the trustee is that represents Alamo Colleges,” he said.
“Very few people can tell me that it’s the second highest tax they pay as a property owner.”
Nava said the Alamo Colleges must ensure effective support systems are in place for students.
Nava said he would like to see the colleges implement an employee incentive program.
“We have support staff, custodial staff, food staff, transportation staff, but are we offering programs for those individuals to have access to higher education, to have access to certification programs,” he said. “Or are we just taking for granted that this is the job that they have and this is where they are going to stay.”
Nava said there should more emphasis made on providing individuals with opportunities to better themselves.
Nava said, if elected, his No.1 focus would be supporting students.
“When I say that, I mean all students. Our students with special needs, what are we doing for those students? Our migratory students, our students that have language barriers?” he said. “What are we doing to support students and link them to either an institution, a university, higher education or work force?”
Nava said the main function of the board of trustees is to be responsible for policy, saying six-year terms allow trustees enough time to listen, learn and put action into place.
“So, one of the first things I would do if elected is really take some time to listen and learn. Listen to students, listen to constituents and find out what barriers have been keeping students from moving forward.”