Brackenridge High School Burbank High School Edison High School Fox Tech High School Highlands High School Sam Houston High School Jefferson High School Lanier High School Advanced Learning Academy St. Phillips Early College High School Travis Early College High School Young Women's Leadership Academy Phyllis Wheatley

Vote for Edison in the Vans Culture Contest!

Edison High School needs your help! Current student Rogelio Zamarripa Jr. created a custom pair of Vans shoes based on the theme "Hometown Pride" and entered them into the Vans Custom Culture High School contest. His shoes have made it into the next round and the winning school will receive $50,000!! 

Voting is easy! You just need an email address and you can vote every day until May 7. CLICK HERE and vote for Rogelio's shoe design. 

Lanier Alumnus Lionel Sosa's Vivid Portraits Capture Stories of Black Men in San Antonio

By Dr. Ricardo Romo, Fox Tech class of '62. This article was originally published on Dr. Romo's blog.

Lionel Sosa, Lanier class of '57, has been painting almost non-stop since  last summer when he decided he would join others who wanted to see racial justice a reality.   A retired CEO of a highly successful Hispanic marketing firm, Sosa has been painting portraits, mostly of ordinary people, cowboys, blue-collar workers, entertainers, and such,  for  much of the past ten years.   

Sosa  assumed a new artistic  purpose in June of 2020, when he came upon a poster that stated: “You can’t be anti-racist, unless you’re actively anti-racist.”  At that moment, Sosa decided to paint a representation of Black men and boys from the San Antonio community with the aim of giving “better understanding of each other as a community.” 

San Antonio Artist Lionel Sosa with one of his 33 portraits: “Living in My Skin” project.

Sosa’s  artistic project, “Living in My Skin-Black Men in  San Antonio Tell Their Story”  will be featured on PBS station KRLN in February 2021 during Black History Month. His 33 subjects, whom he has painted in oil-on linen, range in age from 10 to 90 and include ordinary Black citizens, retired military officers, and a Chief of San Antonio’s Fire Department.  They came to his studio wearing a favorite cap or hat, a special tie or bow tie, or  a formal suit or colorful T-shirt.  In each portrait, he brilliantly captures a particular look, a mood, an emotion, a curiosity, an air of confidence.  

The need for greater understanding of one another in San Antonio and elsewhere in America seemed to resonate with many, Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians in the aftermath of  the horrific murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in May 2020.  Millions, spurred by the viewing of a nine minute  video of Floyd’s senseless choking,  marched in every city of America, as well as in major cities of Western Europe. The marchers represented all races and ethnicities and  many held handmade placards  calling for racial justice and an end to police killings.  Demonstrators in some Western cities, such Portland, Oregon, were largely white, including many from the suburbs. 

Robert Melvin II, 10 year-old student at Keystone School. “San Antonian through and through”

The marches were not a surprise to many Black writers and social critics.  he talented and astute observer of Black America, Ta-Nehisi Coates, noted to a Princeton audience:  “There’s a way in which certain people take too much comfort in progress...For instance, we can have progress for the rest of American history and black people could still be unequal.”

The majority of the demonstrations were peaceful, although some turned violent.  While the Constitution gives every American a right to demonstrate and voice grievances, that right was denied to peaceful demonstrators one afternoon in Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. on  June 1, 2020.  Their peaceful protest turned violent  when a score of “federal agents” turned a calm event into one of chaos.  Men and women, young and old, and mothers with young children were chased off the park with pepper spray  in order to give President Donald Trump his public space across the street for a promotion photo op.

Lionel Sosa portrait. “Black Men in San Antonio tell their stories.” 

All of Sosa’s  “Living in My Skin” subjects are residents of San Antonio, many native to the city, as is Sosa. The Eastside, where the majority of the city’s Black population had traditionally lived, was also home for a time to Sosa’s immigrant grandmother, Cristina Sosa. She emigrated from Mexico in the mid-1920s when the country was saddled with violence and political turmoil following the twilight  years of the Mexican Revolution.  Her son Roberto, Lionel’s dad, helped his mother make ends meet by taking in laundry for the neighbors.   

In the mid 1930s, the Sosa family moved to the Westside of San Antonio, a place where Cristina Sosa earned extra money as a midwife. Her son Roberto continued in the laundry business and opened his  business on Commerce Street in the heart of the  Prospect Hill commercial sector. Lionel Sosa and his brother Robert were born in the back family section of the laundry. Lionel is a proud graduate of Lanier High School and remains active with the alumni group. He  is a generous donor to their scholarship programs. 

Lionel Sosa portrait. “Black Men in San Antonio tell their stories.”

Today, Lionel and his wife Kathy, also an accomplished artist and author, spend their time in their studio on Lavaca street in  San Antonio’s Southtown. Together they worked on the publication of “The Children of the Revolution: How the Mexican Revolution Changed America” [2012] More recently, Kathy Sosa has published with Trinity Press,  “Revolutionary Women”  which she  describes as a celebration of  “the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path.”  

The Sosas both love to paint and write.  Their path reminds us all of Ta-Nehisi Coates' words .“Doing what you love will lead to change,” adding that  in seeking change, “ultimately, the answer is within you.”


Read alumni updates here and submit your own!

Join SAISD for free or at a Giving Level to support students and teachers in San Antonio ISD.

We need YOU! Volunteer Opportunities to Give Back to Students in SAISD

Even though we are still in the midst of a pandemic, the needs of students have not gone. That's why YOU, our volunteers, are more important now than ever. Currently, there are three active volunteer opportunities available through SAISD Nation (a program of the SAISD Foundation) and one that will begin later this spring. We hope that one or more of these opportunities will fit your time, talent and desire! Click here to join our SAISD Nation volunteers group on Facebook!

1) Book Buddies Book Sorting

Thanks to our new facility, graciously donated to us by Port San Antonio, Book Buddies is off to a bright start this school year. On Saturdays volunteers sort books donated by Better World Books and Literati and carefully box them up for delivery to schools all throughout San Antonio ISD.  To ensure safety, masks are required and social distancing is enforced (each family/ small group has their own table/ sorting station). 
This school year, over 35 schools are slated to receive free books, enabling k-8 students to start and build their own home libraries. We still have spaces for this Saturday from 10 am - noon- sign up for this or any future Saturday sorting date  AT THIS LINK. Thanks to our amazing volunteers, students at 9 schools have already received books. Over 25 other schools are patiently waiting for their books, and we can only meet their need with the help of volunteers like you.

2) Playground Stenciling

In a COVID and post-COVID environment, our outdoor spaces are more critical than ever. By participating in this painting activity you will help to beautify an SAISD school and activate more outdoor learning spaces. This activity is appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up. On paint day we ask that you bring a mask, refillable water bottle and sun protection and wear clothes that you do not mind getting messy. We will provide paint, materials, hand sanitizer, and day-of instructions! Click here to sign up and pick your preferred school and date!

3) Virtual Career Day Speakers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no volunteers are being allowed on SAISD campuses during regular school hours while students are present. As a result, many events that were previously held in person are now being held virtually. 

Dorie Miller Elementary, located on San Antonio's East Side, has requested a total of 10 career day speakers to pre-record a video that:

  • Introduces professional's background/ education and career journey
  • Explains what it's like to be in their chosen career (think day in the life)
  • Incorporates visuals 

Speakers would then log into a live Zoom on May 28 for half an hour to interact with the students who watched their video and answer questions. These videos will also be offered to other SAISD campuses looking to provide virtual career day experiences to pre-5th grade students, ensuring that students across the district are exposed to a wide range of exciting career opportunities! We need videos in Spanish as well for our English Language Learners and dual language classrooms. 

Here is a great example of the type of videos that are appropriate for students in this age range.

If you would like to be a virtual career day speaker, please email Alumni Engagement and Volunteer manager Cristina Noriega at [email protected] 

4) Remote Mentors to 2021 Grads

This spring we will be pairing a select group of 2021 grads with volunteer mentors who can help ensure they have a smooth transition to college. Our SAISD Nation remote mentor program is a twice a month commitment- we ask that mentors check in with their mentee via email, phone or Zoom. If this is something you would be interested in doing, please let us know by replying to this email.

Thank you for investing in teachers and students in SAISD!

 See all our volunteer opportunities and sign up for those that match your interests on SAISD Nation here.

Join SAISD for free or at a Giving Level to support students and teachers in San Antonio ISD.


Fox Tech H-TECH Offers Direct Pathway to Nursing

San Antonio College announced that it will offer a new program leading to a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing. The first of its kind at Alamo Colleges, the “RN to BSN” program will enable licensed registered nurses with two-year associate degree to complete a course of study resulting in a bachelor’s degree. 

Thanks to this new program, students enrolled in Fox Tech's new H-TECH early college high school program, which offers dual credit to enrolled students, will be able to graduate with an RN and Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. This will prepare them for high-paying careers in the medical industry. When the students turn 18 they are eligible to begin work-based learning in the partner hospitals, Methodist Health Care System and University Health System. As H-TECH students, they receive access to a deep network of experiences, including a guest speaker series that begins their freshman year of high school, and the opportunity to interview with hospital partners for an RN position.

"Our associate of science feeds right into the nursing program, and our students would be granted a seat in the nursing program at SAC" said Fox Tech Principal Jennifer Benavides. "We are so excited and it definitely lends to the original vision of the alumni that created the health magnet in 2010; it takes that vision to a different level now leading to a BSN. We couldn’t be happier to see it unfold with our partnership with SAC, Methodist Health Care System and University Health System."

"One of the biggest takeaways for H-TECH is that it addresses the enormous deficit in the healthcare and nursing fields" said E. Lynn Hernandez, H-TECH Coordinator. "We were in a nationwide nursing shortage prior to the global COVID19 pandemic; this programming is more timely and relevant now more than ever. We are teaching students to become healthcare workers-from academics, to professionalism and compassion, empathy, and ethics. Our students will leave here well prepared for medical careers."
Lanier alumna Rose Castro is proud that Tech's legacy of leadership in the medical field will continue through this program.  "I also was an educator for 38 years in the district. 15 years were spent at Fox Tech with the SAISD-UTHSCSA Biomedical Program. This cooperative program was a model for magnet schools that followed. This program produced physicians, attorneys, PhDs and teachers. I'm proud to see this legacy continue!"
Victoria Cuellar Avila, who graduated from Fox Tech in 1950 worked for the Baptist Healthcare System for 45 years. After 20 years as an LVN, she went back to school to complete her 4-year degree and become an RN. Today's H-TECH grads will be able to get their full RN degree in a seamless transition from high school.

Fox Tech is part of the Alamo Collegiate Network, one of three Early College High Schools in SAISD operating in an 1882 in-district charter

Learn more about H-TECH at Fox Tech here, and sign up for a live info session!

Win a Camaro, Support Student Scholarships

By A J Martinez
As you may know, my son Cliff was killed last year, 4 days before Christmas Day. 
To honor my son, I've donated my 2010 Camaro RS to be raffled, with all proceeds going to the San Antonio Independent School District Foundation. All monies will be deposited into the "Detective Cliff J Martinez Memorial Scholarship Fund"
Image of raffle ticket Camaro Cliff Martinez

This Scholarship Fund was established right after his death. It's to help high school students in the Police Explorers curriculum, that want to further their education with a college degree in the field of law enforcement.  Whether it be in local Police, FBI, Forensics or any other enforcement position. I feel that Cliff would like this since he was a Police Explorer while in school.
Now about the 2010 Camaro RS. It's Aqua Blue Metallic, has about 70,000 miles on it, mostly highway miles.  V6, 3.6 Liter, Automatic trans with 6 speed throttle shift, Leather gray seats, Cruise Control, Remote start and Keyless Entry, Power Windows, Power Drivers Seat. This is a fully loaded car.
Raffle will be February 21, 2021. It is raffled as is. You will be responsible for pick up in San Antonio ,Texas. You will also be responsible for tax, title and license fees. You need not be present to win. 

How to Purchase Raffle Tickets:

Contact A J Martinez at [email protected] and give me a count of how many tickets you would like to purchase. They are $25.00 each and only a limited amount have been printed.
Make check or money order to SAISD Foundation. In your memo write " Det. Cliff Scholarship Fund".

About the Detective Cliff Martinez Memorial Scholarship:  

The Detective Cliff Martinez Memorial Scholarship has been established to support SAISD students in Police Explorer programs (in a SAISD High School) with plans to pursue a career as a police officer. This scholarship serves as a tribute to the work and life of SAISD Police Officer Cliff Martinez who served with the SAISD Police Department for 28 years. Cliff was also a proud SAISD graduate of Highlands High School. To contribute to this scholarship fund, click here and note Cliff Martinez Scholarship in the comments box. Donations can also be mailed to SAISD Foundation, 2411 San Pedro, San Antonio 78212.

Student Eligibility: Active in a Police Explorers Program at an SAISD high school, interest in law enforcement, 2.5 GPA, commitment to family and community.


Want to Support Students and Teachers in SAISD? By Joining SAISD at a Giving Level, your monetary investment supports teacher grants, student scholarships and emergency gap funding, college tours, field trips, books distributions and more. As a giving level member, you also get lots of perks, from swag to invitations to exclusive events. Thank you for your support! We could not do this without our alumni familia.          


Burbank HS Getting Major Revamp

Reposted from

Burbank construction

If you are driving from I-35 on Highway 90 on the near south side of the city, it is hard to miss the giant construction site that will be home to the new Luther Burbank High School. 

The project is massive. The new 250,000 square foot campus is situated on the southeast corner of the interchange facing Highway 90. The new campus will replace the existing 1960s-era structure, which is situated directly behind the new building.  

Principal Irene Talamantes noted that saving Burbank’s history was important for everyone throughout the process. 
“Murals, colors, and themes were preserved and will be displayed throughout the design of the new building,” she said. “The artist that created the murals in our present cafeteria was consulted regarding how to best represent his work for the enjoyment of future students, staff and visitors.” 

“This new building ties our legacy together with the original building from 1937 to the present and will be more than capable of meeting our requirements for the future and for the staff and students that come after us. As we get closer to moving into the new building, the excitement surrounding it will grow even stronger,” Talamantes said. 

Paul Lindsey is the senior project manager from the construction company Morganti Texas who says the new Burbank High School structure will be as iconic as the original one has been in the community for more than 90 years. 

“Overwhelmingly they are super excited about it,” he said of families that have expressed their enthusiasm over the project. “They can’t wait to see the end result. And they deserve it. This will put them all in one building where they (the students) are centrally located.” 

Currently, the last portion of the building is being built. Crews will then close the exterior shell and begin work on the interior by the first of the new year. The project is being built in four phases. The cafeteria and kitchen are going up first, followed by the science labs and classrooms. The next section is for general classrooms, and finally the main entrance and administrative offices. 

Unlike most of the Bond 2016 projects, which consists of 13 campuses for a total of $450 million, the construction of the main building at Burbank is happening from the ground up, without having to work around teachers, students and staff. Since it’s a brand new building, the day-to-day operations of the high school are going on uninterrupted in the current structure.

“This is the ideal way to do it,” Lindsey said. “Typically, we’re coming in and having to phase an existing building, and they’re having class in the same building we’re working in.”

The design of Burbank, by architecture firm Garza Bomberger & Associates, incorporates a future-ready plan outlined by San Antonio ISD’s Master Plan 2030. 

Kamal ElHabr, associate superintendent for construction and development services, said the work being completed by this and other Bond 2016 projects, will carry the District forward. 

“We have implemented several new educational features into the design of the new Burbank facilities including flexible spaces, common areas, connectivity everywhere, sustainable environment, and mobile furniture,” he said. “This trend will continue as we update our educational specifications with input from the campuses and District to be used in future projects.” 

Lindsey is proud that the Burbank project is leading the way. 

“Burbank High School is going to be a prototype, something the District will look to for future types of high school construction processes,” he said. “We’re building something that will be there for a long time and that the District will try to replicate in future buildings.” 

Students will be able to learn in their new building by the time school starts for the 2021-22 school year. The project will then move into demolition mode as the old academic building is torn down. The current auditorium and athletic fields will then undergo renovations and additions, leaving the overall work at Burbank High School to be completed in 2022. 

Never miss the SAISD news that matters to you. Join SAISD Nation today and reconnect with classmates, sign up to volunteer, or choose to support students and teachers by joining at a Giving Level of $25 or more.

Help Us Honor Educators - October 5 is World Teachers' Day!

World Teachers' Day is October 5th
We are excited to be a part of celebrating one of our greatest assets – our teachers. On October 5th, the SAISD Foundation will be award additional innovative grants and holding the first of our New Teacher Grant Award Virtual Ceremonies welcoming our newest teachers to the SAISD family. You can get involved too!

Teachers, share your story.

Using the hashtag #TeachersCan, upload and share a video to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram about why you teach, what you wish others knew about teaching, and how teachers can make a big difference for students. Please tag us at @saisdfoundation and @sanantonioisd so we can re-share your posts on October 5!

Everyone else, thank a teacher.

Alumni, parents, community members - is there a teacher from your past or present who you want to honor for how they changed your life, or someone else’s? Post a video or post on social media using the hashtag #TeachersCan and #ThankATeacher and tag us at @saisdfoundation so we can see and re-share your posts on October 5! Make sure you have set your privacy to "public" so we can share. 

   Visit TeachersCan for ideas on how you can show support, including downloadable printed activity sheets for students and families.

Click on the images and scroll down to go straight to the activities, and use the prompts in the blue box to record a video thanking your favorite teachers, past and present.

Submit your videos and images to us at [email protected] between now and October 4, and we will be sharing throughout the day on the SAISD Foundation social media channels. Or post from your own channels (make sure the privacy is set to "public), tag @saisdfoundation and use the hashtags #TeachersCan and #ThankATeacher and we will share select posts throughout the day on October 5!



Thank you to Burbank alumnus Michael Quintanilla for this touching tribute to his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Lazaro.
Mrs. Josefina Lazaro, center row, far right, will forever be Michael Quintanilla’s favorite teacher. He has written about her and  presented his story about her dedication, devotion and high standards (twelfth-grade level in some instances) she set for her fourth grade class in journalism workshops across the country, including at Harvard.
Mrs. Josefina Lazaro, my fourth grade teacher at Graebner Elementary School. She later was a counselor at Burbank High School, so in a way, Mrs. Lazaro followed us. When she died in 2007 a group of 10 of us from her fourth grade class attended her funeral service. We all sat together and reminisced about our favorite teacher ever. Her son, Vincent, told us that evening that we were her favorite class ever which is why he reached out to us to let us know that his mother had died. We loved her very much.I wrote a story about that experience and about our teacher. It remains one of my favorite stories. Many years ago I was invited to speak at Harvard about my journalism journey and I included that story. I read it. It was accompanied by a beautiful PowerPoint of images of Mrs. Lazaro and my friends and I when were 10 year children with big ears, funny hair and crooked teeth. When I concluded my presentation, which was about writing and sharing of my work, I remained with the audience for an additional hour talking with them about these stories. I mention this because so many people came up to me to talk about Mrs. Lazaro; they were so touched by her and reminded of their favorite teacher and wanted to share their stories as well.

Click on the image below to download this and other activities!

Tell us how to Make SAISD Nation Better for You - Take our Survey Now!

The SAISD Foundation recently launched SAISD Nation, an online community for alumni, supporters, and former employees of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). We are seeking input on the information and services you would like from the SAISD Nation online platform. It only takes a few minutes to complete, and your participation will help us ensure you get exactly what you want from SAISD Nation. Click on the image below to learn more, or TAKE OUR SURVEY NOW HERE!

SAISD Nation is a place where the SAISD community can connect and stay in touch with everything SAISD, and sign up to give back to current SAISD students. 

Please share this message with anyone you know who might be interested in being a part of this new, growing community. Just cut and paste this link to share:

Thank you for your participation!  If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]


Meet Our "At SAISD, We're Familia" Tri-Chairs!


SAISD is big and diverse--90 schools make up the heart of this beautiful city we call home. We are SAISD proud, we are SAISD familia.  

And family is about helping family, especially when times are tough. CLICK HERE to join SAISD Nation at a giving level of $25 or more and invest in students and teachers in SAISD. 

In March, COVID-19 forced millions of students across the country to pivot to virtual learning, including SAISD’s nearly 49,000 students. SAISD distributed thousands of Chromebooks, IPads, and internet hot spots to ensure that each of our students was able to connect to their teacher and engage in remote learning.  Generous individuals and corporations gave to the SAISD Foundation’s #ConnectCampaign to fund 4000 hotspots with an aim to close a long-standing digital divide. The community rallied and the district delivered. 

Over half a year later, most of our students are still learning from home. We might still be in a pandemic, but physical schools and talented teachers have never been more important. They are the lifeblood of our community. And this is why we must continue to support them. 

Now is the time to come together, because our students need our support more than ever.  We hope that if you can, you will give of your time, talents and/or treasure in the way that makes the most sense for you. 

We are honored to come together to reach out to our SAISD alumni family to help us ensure all students in San Antonio ISD have what they need to thrive. Thank you for being such an important part of what makes SAISD so great - the SAISD family! 


Your SAISD Familia Tri-Chairs,

Nancy York, Jefferson, Life-Long SAISD Educator 

Michael Quintanilla, Burbank, Journalist & Philanthropist 

Marisa Pérez-Díaz, Edison,Texas State Board of Education 


Nancy York, Jefferson, Life-Long SAISD Educator  

Nancy Ann Graham York, met her husband Victor Allen York  at Jefferson high school, where they both graduated in 1965. This year they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. At Jeff, she was a member of the Girls Glee Club, Future Teachers of America, Shakespeares and Lassos, where she enjoyed performing at pep rallies and football games.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin and earning her Master’s of Education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University – San Marcos), York  returned to San Antonio ISD and embarked on a life-long career in education. She started out teaching English, Texas History and Speech at Twain Junior High School, then became a counselor at Emerson (now Wheatley) Middle School and Sam Houston High School; a vice principal at Lowell Middle School and Edison High School; and was principal of Whittier Middle School, Fox Tech High School and Navarro High School. 

“I am blessed to have worked with so many wonderful students, many of whom I enjoy seeing today all across the city as police officers, teachers, doctors, and lawyers.”  

“My daughter is a counselor at Judson Middle School; I’m proud she followed a career in education.

I worked part time at Burbank and Jefferson as a Financial Aid Counselor. I really enjoyed being "back home" at Jeff for 3 years. I would go to the library and auditorium and just admire the architecture which is something I never did as a student!

Nancy is very active with the Lasso Alumni Association and says “It is exciting to work with a new generation of Lassos and pass on the love and pride of being a Lasso to these young ladies.”  

Nancy’s advice to students is simple: “Make good decisions about your life both in and out of school. Know that education is the key to success and the more education you have, the more success you will have. Always believe in yourself and your ability to get the job done. And finally always be proud of where you came from!”   

Who was your favorite teacher?
That is difficult as I had more than one! My favorite English teacher was Mrs. Mann who taught 10th grade Major Works; my favorite social studies teacher was Mrs. Gray.  Mrs. Pedlar was my Sociology teacher and I really thought about majoring in Sociology because of her. I had Mrs. Fleming as my homeroom teacher for 3 years and adored her.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
That is also difficult as I don't often think I have accomplished much but rather have survived!  I am proud of my 42 years  in an inner city school district having worked in a variety of schools in different areas of the district. Having been in education for that long, I went from hand recording grades and absences on report cards to using the internet to perform tasks.  I am proud of all the thousands of students I have worked with and encouraged who have gone from difficulties to making it.  My career in education has allowed me this special opportunity.
I was blessed to have wonderful encouraging mentors such as Betty Williams, retired principal from Sam Houston, and Charles Munoz, retired principal from Edison.  I am also proud of raising 2 outstanding children. Travis was raised at Sam Houston and Sarah Jane at Edison.  I am proud that my husband of 50 years was always there to support me.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
First is the friendships I made over the years with teachers, nurses, counselors, secretaries, custodians, police officers. I am still in contact with so many of these people.  I also mentored and encouraged many teachers who are now principals and counselors. 
Second,  I loved my interactions with the students and it was the students I missed most when I retired.  To this day I am friends with so many of them thanks to social media! I have had students see me and thank me for encouraging them and keeping them from dropping out.  To this day my students at Fox Tech remember my red leather outfit for Chili Bowl!
One of my favorite memories in my career was hiring a young lady, who had been my student assistant at Sam Houston when I was a counselor, to be the social worker at Fox Tech.
Why is education in SAISD important to you?
As an educator, I know that education is the key to success in life. Without an education, students have little opportunity to survive in today's economy.   SAISD is responsible for educating 50,000 students daily. It is critical that SAISD does the best job it can so when these students graduate they are ready to take on the world with the latest skills whether  they choose to go to college, serve in the military, or join the work force.
If one student fails for whatever reason, we all fail.  Many of these students are at-risk economically and socially. We must do all we can to provide whatever these students need.  I want every student in SAISD to have the same opportunity as I did to do and be whatever you want. It's up to us to break down those barriers that exist for many students.
Why is it important for alumni to give back? How can they get involved?
It does take a village to raise a child and that is true today more than ever.  As citizens of San Antonio, SAISD alumni want our city to continue to progress economically and socially.  Alumni should want the graduates of SAISD to be part of the growth of San Antonio and be proud of these graduates because like them they are SAISD products.     
I believe alumni should get involved at a level that is comfortable for them. Many are raising families and with the pandemic are stretched to the max.  Of course those able to contribute money should. Those who can volunteer in some form should.  We should offer a variety of opportunities for alumni.  Maybe just writing a note to a struggling student that says, "We are here for you!" "Don't give up on yourself!"  "SAISD is proud of YOU!"   
I believe every SAISD alumni had at least one  teacher, coach, counselor, administrator, custodian, etc. who made a difference in their life and encouraged them. Because of and in honor of that one person, alumni should want to do something! 

Michael Quintanilla, Burbank, Journalist & Philanthropist

Michael Quintanilla graduated from Burbank High School, and dreamed of heading to Hollywood and becoming an actor. While offered scholarships to many prestigious out of state schools, including Princeton, Quintanilla decided to stay in San Antonio and attend Trinity University. When the editor of the San Antonio Express called Trinity looking to fill a position with a recent graduate, communication professor Dick Gentry recommended Michael, and the rest is history.

The talented journalist was hired by newspapers across the country, including the El Paso Herald Post, the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald, the Los Angeles Times. He returned to his hometown in 2005 and has worked for the San Antonio Express-News,serving as the newspaper's senior fashion writer.

Michael has had a notable  impact on journalism. His articles about a police officer in the Rio Grande Valley became the TV film 300 miles for Stephanie, in which he was portrayed by an actor. His stories about the L.A. riots and the Northridge Earthquake were among those included in staff packages that won the Pulitzer for the L.A. Times. And while in NYC for Fashion Week, he became a ground zero reporter for the L.A. Times in the aftermath of 9/11. Quintanilla is a recipient of the  San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalist’s Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement award. 

Quintanilla has never forgotten his humble roots at the son of a single mom who gave him rides when he didn’t have his own car as a young journalist. He is  always supporting causes that support youth in the community, most recently emceeing the Hispanic Journalist Association Scholarship gala.

Who was your favorite teacher?
Mrs. Josefina Lazaro, my fourth grade teacher at Graebner Elementary School. She later was a counselor at Burbank High School, so in a way, Mrs. Lazaro followed us. When she died in 2007 a group of 10 of us from her fourth grade class attended her funeral service. We all sat together and reminisced about our favorite teacher ever. Her son, Vincent, told us that evening that we were her favorite class ever which is why he reached out to us to let us know that his mother had died. We loved her very much. I wrote a story about that experience and about our teacher. It remains one of my favorite stories. Many years ago I was invited to speak at Harvard about my journalism journey and I included that story. I read it. It was accompanied by a beautiful Power Point of images of Mrs. Lazaro and my friends and I when were 10 year children with big ears, funny hair and crooked teeth. When I concluded my presentation, which was about writing and sharing of my work, I remained with the audience for an additional hour talking with them about these stories. I mention this because so many people came up to me to talk about Mrs. Lazaro; they were so touched by her and reminded of their favorite teacher and wanted to share their stories as well.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I'm very proud of going from covering crimes of passion as a police beat reporter for the San Antonio Express-News to covering crimes of fashion as a fashion writer, front row in New York, Milan and Paris for the Los Angeles Times! Speaking of the Times, I'm also proud of having been a staff contributor, among many, to two staff Pulitzer Prizes in the spot news reporting category. In 1993, the L.A. Times was awarded the spot news reporting prize for its coverage of the second and most destructive day of the Los Angeles riots. In 1995, the Times was awarded the spot news reporting prize for the Jan. 17, 1994 coverage of the chaos and devastation of the Northridge Earthquake.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
My favorite thing about my career has been traveling the world alone. I believe that going it alone has been the best life lesson. The experience has taught me how to truly survive and figure things out -- on a deadline -- in a foreign place. And hand-in-hand with the unique experience of travel has been the the trust that humanity has given me in sharing their stories with readers, taking readers into their homes, their worries, their celebrations, their loves and losses, their moments of joy and their moments of tears. Their hearts. Their souls. Their words so powerful.
Why is education in SAISD important to you?
Education in SAISD is important to me because it was my launching pad to the future and provided a very focused direction for how I wanted to propel my future. I wanted to be a writer, an artist, a performer, a designer. I wanted to create, to connect my head with my heart with my hands. My schools provided me with the opportunities to create my future. For instance, at Graebner Elementary School, I started a small newspaper with other students. We wrote little stories about our friends and pets. We drew photos. We explored storytelling with our small, but earnest stapled newspaper. At Lowell Middle School we created a literary magazine filled with prose and poetry. At Burbank High School, a group of us resurrected a then-defunct school newspaper, The Harvest, yet another creative effort for writers, photographers, designers and editors that filled it with challenging and entertaining content. 
Why is it important for alumni to give back to support SAISD?
It is important for alumni to give back because others have always given to us. My mother always taught me this mantra: "To live is to give." And we can give in so many ways. Of course, money is always so very helpful and can be directed where it is needed, but if money is tight, there are other ways to help. One can give of his or her time. And even with a pandemic swirling around us, time can be given over the telephone, be it a landline or a smartphone or via a Zoom call, or a mobile conversation. Ideas are always needed, no matter how big or small. With children settled at home because of CDC guidelines of safe quarantining, the need to reach out to SAISD students is clearly stronger, and in particular, with help studying. So alumni can give back, perhaps, by way of mentoring, tutoring, assisting with studying.  Or by simply reading a book, virtually, via a FB recording or such, to children attending an SAISD pre-k or kindergarten or first or second grade class, etc. SAISD alumni also can give back in non-traditional ways that perhaps don't relate at all to school books but yet are about learning. Via videos, alumni can teach about cooking, gardening, art, etc.


Marisa Pérez-Díaz, Edison, Texas State Board of Education Representative

Marisa B. Pérez-Díaz, the District 3 State Board of Education member, was elected to the Board of Education in November 2012 and took office on Jan. 1, 2013. She is the youngest Latina, nationally, to have ever been elected to serve on a State Board of Education and is now serving her third term on the board having been re-elected in 2014 and 2018. 

Perez-Diaz met her husband Rafael Diaz, Jr. at Edison High School, where they graduated one year apart. They are the proud parents of two children, Catalina Yaretzi (4) and Rafael (3).

During her time on the Board, Pérez-Díaz has been instrumental in the redevelopment of high school graduation requirements, the update and approval of the Long-Range Plan for Texas Public Education and the rebranding of the Permanent School Fund. Additionally, she has been a leading voice in the fight to approve and implement Mexican American Studies and African American Studies courses for high school credit in Texas.

Pérez-Díaz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with a minor in psychology, from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).   She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UTSA and is a Graduate Fellow.

Perez-Diaz built a strong passion for child advocacy and public service while working at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Her training and certification in child welfare range from child development and advanced risk assessment to planning diversity initiatives and community engagement. Harnessing her expertise and skills, she went on to serve as a district-level administrator in several Texas school districts.

Perez-Diaz serves on several non-profit boards and is an active member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Who was your favorite teacher?​ 

Ms. Linda Jackson, 3rd grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary School, WITHOUT A DOUBT!

What is your proudest accomplishment?​ 

I am so incredibly proud to serve on the Texas State Board of Education where I have the privilege of representing the voices of 1.5 million constituents and 5.4 million Texas public school children. Professionally, this is my "no-brainer" response. That said, personally and professionally, my proudest moment is actually having returned to school after 7 years to pursue my Master's degree. Admittedly, I had two failed attempts to get into a Master's program because I struggled as an undergraduate student, navigating higher education as a first generation GPA was awful! It took an amazingly supportive partner, Rafa Diaz, who is now my husband; two professors who believed in me, gave me a chance, cut me NO BREAKS and have become life-changing mentors (Dr. Encarnacion "Chon" Garza and Dr. Juan Nino); and the will to better myself for me and the individuals who count on me to do better. Two years after being admitted, I proudly walked the stage and accepted my third degree, with my family in the audience, including my 9-month old daughter and my son in my belly.

What is your favorite thing about your career?

I love working, serving and researching in my career field, but my absolute favorite aspect of the work is meeting and learning from so many brilliant individuals, especially our youth. I cross paths, daily, with individuals who broaden my perspective, challenge me to unlearn and re-engage in discourses through a critical lens, and uplift me to be a better steward of their partnership, collaboration, contributions to decision-making and ultimately their voice.

Why is education in SAISD important to you?

For so many reasons! This is my alma mater. SAISD will always be my first education home and the stories of our youth in SAISD classrooms, today, are my stories; they're my siblings' stories; they're our childhood friends' stories. SAISD is a beautiful community that includes, amazing educators, faculty and staff, engaged supporters, committed families and brilliant scholars. THEY are why education in SAISD is MOST important...we must continue to build community around our scholars that will help to uplift and support their needs, their voices and their successes.

Why is it important for alumni to give back to support SAISD? How can / should they get involved?

Look, I have a special connection to the district: Ms. Potter at Woodlawn Elementary taught me how to read; I jumped (SAFELY) from desks learning longitude and latitude in Ms. Jackson's 3rd grade class; Mr. Adams at Horace Mann Middle School kept me interested in reading with cool books; and Ms. Veni, Ms. Byers and Ms. Leslie were such cool educators to learn from at Edison HS. Those are some of my fondest memories of my time in SAISD and I am so grateful, and I know my memories are not unique. I am positive that the thousands and thousands of SAISD alumni out there have their own memories to share; the educational experiences they had while in SAISD classrooms and how those experiences influenced who they are today; and the impact of relationships they built while in SAISD. Those sorts of memories and experiences continue to be established and expanded for SAISD scholars in the classroom today. For all of those reasons, it is important for alumni to give back to the district that raised us in our learning, so that SAISD can continue to grow and become even better for our future generations, who will one day contribute to our world in positive ways. I invite my fellow alumni to volunteer as mentors, connect your organizations of employment with SAISD to offer internship opportunities, support student organizations through financial sponsorships, or contribute directly to and get involved with the SAISD Foundation! Together we can continue to grow the leadership capacity of our city, state and country by supporting OUR SAISD!!!

Remembering One of Our Own on 9/11

Rosa Maria “Rosemary” Chapa was just a few months away from retiring as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency when a hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon where she was working on September 11, 2001. The 1956 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School and the University of the Incarnate Word began her civil service career as a secretary at Randolph AFB. When she died, she was a 64-year-old mother of five and devoted wife of 46 years. Chapa had worked in the Pentagon for 20 years, the last as a high-ranking civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Her section's offices moved within the last month to the first floor of the newly renovated section of the Pentagon, the part of the building hit on 9/11.

Chapa was one of four native San Antonians who perished on that fateful day 19 years ago that drove our country to a standstill. Nearly 3,000 lost their lives  in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, including 40 passengers and crew members who battled hijackers aboard a United Airlines jet, which crashed without reaching its target of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Three other hijacked flights from United and American Airlines hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia.

On this day we all pause to remember those we lost, and honor their memories. 

More on Rosemary Chapa, from the Pentagon Memorial Fund:

Rosemary began her federal career in 1970 as a clerk-typist at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. She held several positions in the Federal Government, working her way up to her position as a senior management officer in the Office of the Deputy Comptroller for Force Structure and Management, Office of the Comptroller, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). She was responsible for ensuring that critical manpower information flowed smoothly from the Force Structure Evaluation System into the position management module of the agency’s human resources system. Prior to her 1997 arrival in DIA, she served as a civilian with the Department of the Air Force, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During her 31-year career, Rosemary received numerous awards and honors but, according to her family, the shining star of her awards was the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, awarded by the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) for her service in the JCS.

Rosemary and her husband, José, were married on November 26, 1955 in San Antonio, Texas. Rosemary’s family will remember her for her love; as they recalled, “she loved her family more than anything, especially her two dogs, Penney (a beagle) and Luckey (an all-American). Despite her busy career, her family always came first. At Christmas she never failed to be persuaded by her kids and husband to make homemade tamales.”

Ms. Chapa is survived by her husband, José, and their children, Grace, Julie, Elza, Roger and John; her father, Manuel Faz; sisters, Mary Gomez and Elza Guajardo; brothers, Gerald and Cesar Faz; and five grandchildren, Kelley Ellis, Jennifer, Monica, Karisa and Daniel Chapa.