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Sayavedra spends first day on the job speaking with students, employees

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- Jan. 4, 2021) — New EPISD Superintendent Diana Sayavedra spent her first official day on the job getting ‘energized’ by visiting with students at Wiggs Middle School, Douglass Elementary School and Bowie High School. 

Sayavedra visited classrooms of all levels asking and fielding questions from students to get a taste of the El Paso ISD community and allowing the students to get to know her. She left each classroom with a promise to be back for a deeper dive into what they enjoyed about their campus and ideas for improving their educational experience. 

“It’s important for me to be around students because students really energize me and they are the reason we do what we do,” said Sayavedra. “I felt it was important to connect with students on my first day as superintendent.” 

One important question asked by a Wiggs student: What does a superintendent do?

“The superintendent is in charge of the entire district and works with the Board of Trustees, parents and the community to make sure we make the best decisions for our students, so you can have a wonderful and quality education,” the former middle school principal said. “It’s like being the president of a company.”

She offered students advice about achieving their dreams – especially addressing the girls in the class by sharing her own story about working hard and becoming EPISD’s first female permanent superintendent.

“You can be anything you want to be,” she told the students. “I believe in you.”

As the leader of the district, Sayavedra wants to establish a system that gives students the tools to compete in college or anywhere in the nation.

“If they knock on the door of opportunity, they are equipped to open the door and walk through and realize their dreams,” she said. “I want to be part of that process.”

Sayavedra visited with kindergartner students and other little ones, switching back and forth in English and Spanish for the dual-language students asking mostly about their Christmas break.  Spending time with friends and family seemed to be a consistent theme among the classes. The new superintendent shared with the students that she’d only moved to the city a week ago, and now lives far from her daughter and other family members. 

“I consider you all my new family – mi nueva familia,” she told students.

Her stop at Bowie gave her an opportunity to ask students about their points of pride at their campus and what they enjoyed about being Bowie Bear. 

“They shared something so profound and important to know – something I was not expecting,” she said. “They love coming to Bowie, they value their education here because at Bowie, they find their two cultures become one. They see the culture of El Paso and Juarez become one in the hallways of Bowie.” 

Sayavedra, originally from Laredo, Texas, got into a poignant conversation with students about their shared experience growing up in a border city and the challenges they face. 

“I liked that she thought to come visit us. I think it was a good way of starting as superintendent,” said senior class president Blanca Muñoz. “I’m thankful we have someone who understands what we need right now.”

Student body president Joshua Medrano echoed Muñoz’s sentiment. 

“We don’t normally get to experience meeting the superintendent,” he said. “It was a pretty special moment for Bowie. It was special because of her background. She understands us. It was something special and wonderful for Bowie.”

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy