Brownsville ISD Names New Superintendent 

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Brownsville ISD is proud to welcome new leadership in 2024, naming Dr. Jesus H. Chavez as its superintendent in March. Chavez is a graduate of Porter High School in Brownsville, now returning to the district with a vision of steadfast progress as its leader.

Chavez became the district’s interim superintendent in November 2023. It was not until he had served in the position for several weeks that he began to consider a long-term appointment.

“I was hired to serve for a few months until they named somebody else,” Chavez said. “Then I started getting questions about whether I would stay longer. I refused for about a month, but finally I told the board that I would consider staying.”

Chavez notified the board of trustees in December of 2023 of his decision, which came at the encouragement of board members, district staff, and supporters in the Brownsville ISD community.

Chavez brings over 30 years of administrative experience to Brownsville ISD. He has previously served as the superintendent of three school districts in Texas, including Harlingen CISD, Corpus Christi ISD, and Round Rock ISD. Chavez notes that his former experience provided a broad range of administrative duties, such as research evaluation, district facility planning, construction, maintenance, and transportation. His goal of leading Brownsville ISD dates back to 1976 when he told the principal of Porter High School that he hoped to serve as the district superintendent one day.

“I’ve always had that dream of coming back to Brownsville,” Chavez said. “I want to give back.”

Chavez now serves the district with a four-point vision of success, including continuous improvement, reliance on teamwork, and respectful treatment of others. Most important to his educational philosophy, however, is prioritizing children and students within the district.

“We want to arrive at good decisions that help students,” Chavez said. “I want to make sure that they have opportunities that are specifically tied to job needs – not only here in the Valley, but in the state.”

Chavez hopes to emphasize career support for students, including opportunities for college credits and certifications for technical and trade schools. He also seeks to improve the state of facilities throughout Brownsville ISD, noting that some campuses require renovation while others can no longer support the growing number of students in the northern part of the district.

“We have a lot of facilities that were built thirty, 40 or 50 years ago,” Chavez said. “We’ll need additions to existing schools, and maybe some new facilities in the north, within the next year or two.”

The upcoming school year will also see the merging of several elementary schools, including the consolidation of Garza and Southmost, Del Castillo and Morningside, and Cromack and Castañeda. Chavez hopes to transform each of these schools into magnet schools with specialized curricula in the future. A strong team dynamic among staff members is key to his mission, ensuring that employees are unified in their long-term goals and short-term strategies.

“In order for any organization to become great, you need to have a very good climate,” Chavez said. “I emphasize teamwork between the board and myself, teamwork at the central office, and teamwork at the campus level where teachers work closely with administrators.”

Chavez remains committed to students’ accomplishments. He explains that the district has a strong record of test performance and extracurricular honors, especially compared to comparable demographics in larger school districts.

“When you look at the major urban areas and compare their performance to the Valley, our students do tremendously well,” Chavez said. “This district has more than I’ve ever seen as far as enrichment and extracurricular activities for our students.”

The district’s after-school programs encompass various academic achievements, from science and engineering competitions to participation in national chess tournaments. Chavez aspires to uphold the district’s excellence with an emphasis on a strong curriculum, comprehensive teacher training, and committed staff development for all employees.

“The main work is making sure that students succeed,” Chavez said. “I’ve already gotten a good feel for some of the work we can do so that Brownsville continues to shine and become a better district.”

Bill Hill