LYFORD : Superintendent Eduardo Infante

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LATINO ED: What is your vision for your school district?
Infante: We see students that are technology literate, ethically responsible, risk-taking leaders, self-directed learners, and critical thinkers. Our vision for the district includes supportive leaders that promote continuous improvement, are people of integrity and demonstrate openness to innovation and creativity. We want classrooms that utilize technology, are engaging and promote critical thinking. We are a caring, people-oriented educational family committed to graduating well rounded, well educated, responsible and productive students.

LATINO ED: What inspires, motivates, and drives you? What are you most passionate about?
Infante: I am a person of faith. My belief that we are ultimately doing what we do for the glory of God compels me to a commitment to excellence. I am driven by the belief that educators have a moral obligation to do all we can to train and prepare our children for their future. I am very passionate about sharing my vision for children with our leaders here in Lyford CISD.

LATINO ED: Have there been cuts to your district’s state funding in recent years? If so, what impact are these cuts having on your district?
Infante: The recent cuts obviously made us re-think our budgets. We had to prioritize our needs, we looked at cutting non-essentials. Unfortunately, we did cut some positions. I believe that we did a good job of minimizing the effects of the cuts on instruction. We made every attempt to keep the instructional program strong in spite of the fact that we had to tighten our belts. But, make no mistake; the cuts were made in the midst of increased accountability and rigor. We need greater resources in order to do the job we need to do.

LATINO ED: What is your perspective on the recent changes enacted by the Texas Legislature in the form of House Bill 5 and what impact will these changes have in your district?
Infante: House Bill 5 is an improvement on the previous accountability bill that called for too much testing and too much weight on the tests. Although many of the rules for HB5 are still being developed, we know that this new bill calls for fewer tests and more flexibility in upper level courses. Flexibility in course offerings will help us. Although there are questions about the CTE endorsements that the bill calls for, the endorsements will provide students opportunities to graduate career ready. Students will be prepared to directly enter into a career upon graduation from high school. Districts that have well developed CTE programs have an advantage over smaller districts that typically do not have more than one or two well developed CTE career pathways. In our case, we have been able to develop our CTE program to the point where we currently offer seven CTE pathways. This new bill has impacted our planning. We are aligning our resources and planning in attempts to better prepare our students for college entrance exams.

LATINO ED: What, in your opinion, are your school district’s greatest assets? What is unique about your district that sets it apart from others in the Rio Grande Valley?
Infante: Our greatest asset is that although we are a small district we are providing our students with opportunities that other small districts may not yet be doing. For example, we are a STEM District, our high school and middle schools are designated as STEM schools by TEA, and we are providing our students opportunities to learn about the STEM fields. Our students will be involved in robotics competition and solar car competition and will have the opportunity to study in the STEM Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway. We are also providing our elementary students with STEM opportunities with a curriculum specifically for elementary students. We are also the first small district in the Valley to implement a 1 to 1 technology initiative throughout the entire district, K-12. Our initiative, Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century (TL 21) will provide our students and teachers with opportunities to teach and learn 21st century skills. The 4C’s, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity will be skills that our students will learn.

LATINO ED: Charter schools appear to be spreading throughout the region. What impact are these schools having on your school district, if any?
Infante: The charter schools have had only a small impact on us due to the fact that most charter schools have been placed in more populated areas of the Valley. We are providing a quality educational program in a small rural school setting. Our programs, educational climate, and people are second to none. All this being the case, the majority of our students stay and graduate from Lyford High School.

LATINO ED: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as superintendent?
Infante: I have a recurring greatest accomplishment, every graduation night my heart swells up with joy. Our greatest accomplishment is preparing young people for their future. Through education we have the power to change lives, make a difference, and give our students hopes and dreams that they are able to pursue.
LATINO ED: What are your biggest worries as a superintendent?
Infante: My biggest concerns are, are we doing enough, are we doing it right, are we passionate enough, and can we do more?

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