By Kimberly Caballero
Yvonne Katz, 74, is seeking re-election to continue the “momentum” of the last six years.
The retired public school superintendent was elected in 2012 and served as chair of the board of trustees since May 2016.
The board approved such initiatives as Alamo Advise, which provides students with academic and career advising; MyMap, which offers steps to make registration easier for students; and Summer Momentum, which provides free summer credit hours for students who earned 18 to 24 hours in fall and spring.
Katz plans to take a stand against the Texas Legislature’s decreased funding for community colleges.
She said it is important for the Legislature to know “good-quality education requires resources.”
The Alamo Colleges has received $8 million less over the last two legislative sessions, Katz said.
Katz has been a school superintendent for multiple districts, including Harlandale Independent School District. She also has taught at four universities, including the University of Texas at San Antonio.
She helped design the first off-campus doctoral program at Texas A&M University and as a clinical professor taught courses in designing curriculum and preparing students to be administrators.
She said her background in education shows she understands students’ needs and dreams in higher education and the public education system.
Katz has not worked for the Alamo Colleges, but she attended a continuing education course in scuba diving at this college in the 1970s.
Former District 7 trustees Charles Conner and Blakely Fernandez and District 1 trustee Joe Alderete gave Katz their “blessing to run for the seat” in 2012.
“We really try to develop relationships because it’s through your relationships that you know each other and each other’s passions for the parts of education and for things that we want to see get done,” Katz said. “It’s a board that really understands what needs to happen, really looks at the data to help us make those decisions.
Student success is a priority for the board.
“We are students-first,” she said. “Everything that comes out of our mouths at those board meetings is about student success.
“I want to see us really move forward with our bond that was voted last May at almost 68 percent level of approval by our county patrons.”
According to The Ranger, in May 2017, of 112,405 voters who turned out, 75,123 approved a $450 million bond package. About 10 percent of the 1,049,400 registered voters in Bexar County voted.
Among other issues, bond funding will establish community centers around the county and renovate or replace decades-old buildings, Katz said.
Although Katz doesn’t have any colleges or community programs in her district, she believes she has represented them well because they still reach out to her.
“They do not hesitate to talk to me, call me or email me” on a weekly basis about things they would like to see happen or other questions.
Katz said as chair of the board, her function is to ensure “everything is moving along with all board members” and they are included in discussions or decisions.
She represents the board to district administration. “I am then the bridge over to the chancellor,” she said.
One of the board’s main responsibilities is to hire the chancellor, Katz said.
“Our responsibilities are hiring that person, evaluating that person, evaluating the attainment of the goals of the college district — hence, the charges that we give to him to work through each year.”