La Feria News

A Visit with Superintendent Villarreal

Heriberto Villarreal, Superintendent of Santa Rosa I.S.D.

Heriberto Villarreal, Superintendent of Santa Rosa I.S.D.

Celebrating 8 years with Santa Rosa I.S.D.

Heriberto Villarreal is very much aware that it’s a different world today than what it was when he became School Superintendent of the Santa Rosa Independent School District in 2007. That truism was very evident to this reporter after he was stopped 3 times by security guards on the way to his office for an interview. “The reality of current world events and associated changes have made all of us more cautious and circumspect,” he said with a bit of a smile.

Villarreal spoke to LA FERIA NEWS about those changes and how they impact schools like his: He listed the fluctuations of state-supported finances of education as high on the list for all schools–large and small.

“The state accountability system has changed dramatically statewide,” he said. “Standards have gone up, and finances have not kept up with the realistic costs of education. What happens is that local taxpayers now have to make up the difference.”

Security officers on duty at Santa Rosa High School

Security officers on duty at Santa Rosa High School

With that in mind, Villarreal said that he constantly studies to make sure that Santa Rosa I.S.D. stays up-to-date with all the federal and state mandates.

“Frankly, we’ve had to make some tough decisions over the years to assure our academic success,” he continued. “We continually have to balance our educational programs with the needs of the athletic department, the marching band, the music and art departments. These too are vital school activities and contribute mightily to the overall excellence of our school.”

Then he said proudly, “We are a small 3A school with a current enrollment of 1,120 students, but we are respected for our accomplishments. I attribute this to our hardworking staff and the support of the community, and especially the parents of our students. Our seven members of the Board of Trustees also enthusiastically support all the school activities. “That is how we can meet challenges together,” he stated.

Turning to another subject, the superintendent said that the district has just completed a total upgrade of the school’s technological infrastructure. “This new equipment will increase the speed and bandwidth of the computers, and each Santa Rosa campus will be on a par with any other school in the state.” he said.

Villarreal said that when a graduating Senior leaves Santa Rosa High School, he or she is college-ready, work force ready, and ready to move into a career in any chosen field.

“We also have a closed campus with certified guards on duty full-time,” he stated.

Our reporter said that he was aware of that security plan, as he had already met the alert officers. Without doubt, students, parents and teachers can indeed now feel safer.

The superintendent then supplied a bit about his career prior to taking over the helm at Santa Rosa I.S.D:  He is a Valley man, born, raised and educated in the Rio Grande Valley. Villarreal came to Santa Rosa from San Benito C.I.S.D., where he was the principal of the 9th grade Middle School, Director of Federal Programs, Title 1 Migrant Program and Bi-lingual School Director—busy man.

Villarreal graduated from San Benito High School in 1980, and got his Bachelor’s Degree in 1985 at UTPAM. In quick succession, he got his Master’s degree in Educational Administration at UTB and returned to UTPAM for his Superintendent Certificate in 1997. Then, it was back to San Benito C.I.S.D until he joined the Santa Rosa school system in 2007.

Top Warrior Students

Top Warrior Students

His plans for the future? “First of all, let me say, ‘it’s been a great 7 (going on 8) years,‘” he said. “For future plans, we want to achieve distinction in the state accountability system and increase students taking dual enrollment college courses. And definitely continue our progress with our technological programs for each classroom,” he said.

“We are a small school on the move.”

Did you like this? Share it: