The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency dated April 26 approving the appointment of a board of managers to oversee the El Paso Independent School District.
The letter states, "The attorney general does not interpose any objection to the specified change."
The TEA in December appointed a board of managers to replace the current school board, but needed clearance from the DOJ.
The board of managers will be responsible for overseeing the management of EPISD, including oversight of the district's efforts to address and correct identified deficiencies and to implement effective, structural and procedural improvement strategies for long-term, positive change, Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said last year.
Once in place, the appointed board of managers will assume all responsibilities of the elected board of trustees. The board of managers will be in place for up to two years. A school board election must be called within two years of this appointment.
Three of the EPISD school board's seven seats are on the May 11 ballot.
The board of managers is made up of:
- Dee Margo, former state representative
- Blanca Enriquez, who runs Region 19's Head Start Program
- Ed Archuleta, retiring CEO of El Paso Water Utilities
- Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, city of El Paso's CFO
- Judy Castleberry, current conservator for EPISD.
Outgoing board President Isela Castañon-Williams gave a statement saying, "I am very disappointed with the Department of Justice's decision to not respect the voting rights of the citizens of El Paso. I am particularly disappointed that we supported President Obama who touted respecting people's rights under his administration."
Dee Margo said, "We're ready to take over the fiduciary duties on behalf of EPISD's school children and their parents."
No word on when their first board meeting will be.
Expanded bios of EPISD Board of Managers
Edmund G. "Ed" Archuleta
Edmund G. "Ed" Archuleta has been manager (president and CEO) of the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board since January 1989. He recently announced his retirement from that position. A registered professional engineer in Texas, New Mexico, and Iowa, Archuleta is a well established community leader who is currently serving or has assisted several civic organizations, including the United Way, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, the Rotary Club, and the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria is the chief financial officer for the City of El Paso. She has served in this capacity for more than seven years and has worked extensively in the governmental sector throughout her career. In addition to her professional achievements, she is engaged in the community and volunteers her time for various causes such as the El Paso Chapter of the YWCA and the Center Against Family Violence. She and her husband have three children who attend school in the EPISD.
The Honorable Dee Margo
A resident of El Paso for over three decades, Rep. Dee Margo has served in the Texas House of Representatives representing District 78. For over 30 years, Dee has worked at the John D. Williams Company, a firm with El Paso roots dating back to 1898, working his way up through the ranks from vice president in 1977 to president, chairman and CEO.
Dr. Blanca Enriquez
Enriquez currently serves as executive director of the Region 19 Education Service Center Head Start Program. While at ESC Region 19, she has also worked as director of the Special Populations Divisions and Bilingual Program. Enriquez's more than 40 years of experience in education also includes stints as an elementary school teacher, teacher leader and teacher's aide in the EPISD. In addition, she is a graduate of Bowie High School in El Paso. Enriquez has been active in various community organizations including the education committee of the Economic Development Planning Division of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Paso Del Norte Committee, and the United Way of El Paso.
Dr. Judy Castleberry
Appointed as conservator in the El Paso ISD on Dec. 6 by Commissioner Williams, Dr. Judy Castleberry had served as a TEA monitor in the district since August 2012. A former executive director of the Region 20 Education Service Center (ESC), Castleberry has served in various instructional leadership roles for the Fort Sam Houston ISD and Region 20 ESC.