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A Message from Diana Sayavedra

Dear El Paso ISD,    

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you in the El Paso ISD community.   

It has been a year filled with challenges, resilience, and triumphs, and I am incredibly thankful for the dedication and hard work that our students, teachers, staff, parents, and community members have demonstrated. Your commitment to academic excellence and the development of our students has made a profound impact on the success of our district.   

As we reflect on the past months, let us remember the moments of collaboration, innovation, and compassion that have defined our journey. Our collective efforts have not only helped us navigate through uncertainties but have also strengthened the bonds that make El Paso ISD a truly exceptional community.   

That spirit was on display Friday at all our campuses as we paused at 10 a.m. to collectively take part in Read Across the District. This is one of our marquee literacy events every year. I had the privilege of reading to students at Mesita Elementary School. El Paso ISD started RAD in 2015 to merge our literacy initiative with district goals to engage the community. Campuses invite civic leaders, business partners, celebrity readers and other volunteers to their schools to read to students in younger grades. Early reading creates lifelong learning. We are proud to foster that love of literacy for all students.    

Our Show Up, You Matter campaign continued its periodic recognition of schools with exemplary attendance figures as seven principals were presented with traveling trophies during our Leadership by Design summit. While they received trophies, their schools received treats, coupons and tickets for one lucky winner to attend UTEP football’s home finale next weekend. Congratulations to Tippin Elementary School; Don Haskins PK-8 School; Hornedo Middle School; the Center for Career and Technology Education and Transmountain Early College High School for topping the attendance charts during the second weeks. Kudos, also, to our Rising Stars at Zach White Elementary School and Nolan Richardson Middle School. Attendance is the No. 1 predictor of student success. Let’s keep showing up!   

The district was closed last Friday, but I hope you didn’t miss out on a bit of national recognition we received while we were out. CNN anchor Phil Mattingly professed his love of sun bears during a segment earlier in the week. It compelled Don Haskins PK-8 Principal Haidi Appel to reach out to him to let him know we love Sun Bears, too. Haskins’ mascot is the Sun Bears — an amalgam of El Paso’s nickname (Sun City) and the nickname of the school’s namesake (The Bear). Mr. Mattingly was so taken by Ms. Appel’s note that he asked her to submit a video of the school professing its love for Sun Bears, and it aired on national television! What a great showcase for El Paso ISD. Thank you, Ms. Appel, Mr. Mattingly and CNN for shining a spotlight on the region’s Destination District. If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it here.    

While there will be no classes Nov. 20-24, some of our students will still be making preparations for upcoming competitions. Swimming, wrestling and basketball teams throughout the district are in tournament season. Meanwhile, our fine arts students close the three-night run of the 2023 Parade of Choirs at 6 p.m. today at Bowie High School.    

Congrats are in order for nearly 100 middle-school fine arts performers. We had 31 students qualify for middle-school All-Region Choir while 67 musicians were named to the list of All-Region Orchestra performers. We also saw three high school students qualify for the UIL Student Congress state competition. Isihis Herrera from Austin High School; and a pair of Coronado students, Judson McGinnes and William Qian, will compete at the state meet in January. We inspire and empower our students to thrive at El Paso ISD!   

Amid this season of gratitude, I want to thank members of Burges High School’s Class of 1973 who visited their alma mater Tuesday to deliver a check worth nearly $3,700 to go toward student scholarships at the school. The money was gathered during the Mustang graduates’ 50-year reunion celebration. These Burges alums — Jaime Barceleau, Bonnie Bracher, Peggy Hinkle, Armando Moncada and Jim Payne — are the embodiment of the power of community partnerships. Thank you for giving back and creating bright futures for our students.   

As we gather with our loved ones for Thanksgiving, let's take a moment to appreciate the sense of unity that exists within our district. Whether in the classrooms, offices, or homes, your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed. Each of you plays a crucial role in shaping the future of our students and the success of our district.   

I am truly honored to serve as your superintendent and am inspired by the incredible spirit present at El Paso ISD. Together, we have created a supportive and nurturing environment where every student can thrive.  

May this Thanksgiving be a time of joy, reflection and gratitude for the blessings we share. Wishing you and your loved ones a warm and wonderful holiday season.   

It starts with us. 


Diana Sayavedra
Superintendent of Schools

Nov. 17, 2023