Brownsville ISD hires Jesus H. Chavez as superintendent

dfwnewsa | March 21, 2024 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News

Brownsville ISD hires Jesus H. Chavez as superintendent
Brownsville Independent School District Superintendent Jesus H. Chavez signs his employment contract with the district in the BISD board room on Tuesday, March 20, 2024. (Gary Long | The Brownsville Herald)

The Brownsville Independent School District made it official on Tuesday, signing a one-year contract with Jesus H. Chavez to become superintendent of schools following well received stint as interim.

Chavez, a Brownsville native and former superintendent of the Harlingen, Corpus Christi and Round Rock school districts, signed a contract with a base salary of $375,000 after the board of trustees voted 5-2 to extend the offer.

With benefits and Teacher Retirement System penalty for being rehired after retirement, the cost to the district comes to about $436,800, board attorney Benjamin Castillo said.

“When I was a teacher, we avoided superintendents. I saw him in action the other day. Teachers were going up to him. They were hugging him, shaking his hand, laughing with him. They just were very comfortable. This is something I saw, so I think we made the best choice,” Trustee Tim Ramirez said.

Ramirez, Board President Jessica G. Gonzalez and Trustees Denise Garza, Daniella Lopez Valdez and Eddie Garcia voted in favor, with Frank Ortiz and Carlos Elizondo against.

Ortiz congratulated Chavez and said his vote was nothing personal, just business, since BISD is facing serious financial challenges. Elizondo attended the meeting virtually and asked that the specifics of the contract be stated publicly.

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Garcia echoed other trustees, who praised Chavez’s experience, support from the community and rapport with the staff.

“It is obvious. In a short period of time Dr. Chavez has exceeded our expectations. … Our district will benefit from a homegrown leader that has demonstrated his ability to move our district forward, and our community is supportive of him as well. And our district is getting all his experience, his knowledge, his leadership, for a more than reasonable cost,” Garcia said.

For his part, Chavez said being BISD superintendent has been an unrealized goal of his dating to 48 years ago, when as a Porter High School student he expressed it to classmates and the principal.


“I truly believe that Brownsville can be the best district, not only here in the Valley, but can be the best district in the state, and we’re going to work towards that,” Chavez said.

Jesus H. Chavez

He also pointed to his successes at the other districts.

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“In all those places, and you can go back and look at the record, some wonderful things happened,” Chavez said.

“I can say that every year we improved, and as our staff knows, one of the pillars of my philosophy is continuous improvement, and we will continue to focus on that. But even before that continuous improvement, students are always first in my heart, they’re always first in my thoughts, and they’re always first in the decisions we will make,” he said.

“One last thing that I would like to say. I would not be here if it were not for my family as well. I know some of you here, including board members, asked me after about a month’s work, would you consider staying?

“And you remember that I said no. No. … But as time went on I had the conversation with my sons, with my wife. I know she’s watching out there. Love you, babe. I wanted to mention my wife. She gave me her blessing to do this job because she knows that in my heart what I’m about is making a difference in the lives of children so that they can become as successful or even more successful than I have been and that we have been here in this room. So that is my goal and that is my purpose. I pledge to serve you the board, our students, our teachers in the best way that I can to make Brownsville a great school district. Thank you very much,” Chavez concluded.

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