Vol. 2, Iss. 4 | December 2020

RGV LEAD Welcomes New Board Members

“It’s an honor to serve another year as RGV LEAD Board President. Thank you for the nomination, vote, and for the opportunity to serve alongside this amazing group of passionate individuals who are committed to making a positive change in the lives of RGV students. When you have board members that have served on the board or otherwise been involved with RGV LEAD for more than 10 years, you know the organization is doing something right! The passion and dedication of this board are beyond commendable!”
Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat
RGV LEAD Board President

During the month of November, RGV LEAD held its first Board Meeting of the new fiscal year. RGV LEAD welcomed four new members to the RGV LEAD Board. Joining the Board of Directors are Albert Pena and Ryan Solis. Joining the Associate Board are Oscar Garcia and Leo Saenz. “The Nominations Committee was very strategic in filling board vacancies and adding to RGV LEAD’s leadership team,” said Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat, RGV LEAD Board President.

“We analyzed our board composition and recognized where we had some gaps in terms of representation (geographic and industry), expertise, and experience. We nominated these four individuals, and they were unanimously voted onto the Board at our RGV LEAD annual membership meeting. We are confident they will bring much value to our organization, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to the RGV LEAD Board and family! Thank you for your willingness to serve and make a difference in students’ lives.”

OSCAR GARCIA is the Director of Facilities and Maintenance at the Port of Brownsville, TX. We believe having a close partnership with the Port is extremely helpful in enabling our mission and vision. The Port is an economic engine that connects the RGV to the rest of the world. Having a passionate representative from the Port who is an advocate for education and believes in our mission is invaluable. Being the only one from his family to graduate high school and earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree, he believes his life experiences can relate to many students. Oscar will keep us updated with the Port’s burgeoning industry and opportunities to further engage students. Oscar is also a recent graduate of Leadership Brownsville Class XXXV and was part of a record-breaking fundraising class project as the top fundraiser of the class.

ALBERT PENA is the Superintendent at San Perlita ISD. We felt it was critical to have representation from small, rural school districts. He is well respected amongst Superintendents and was highly recommended amongst peers as a great advocate for students and in particular students from small, rural school districts. Albert brings over 12 years of experience as a school superintendent and has had the opportunity to network with superintendents from all over the state through leadership programs at Lamar University and Southern Methodist University. He served as Chairman of the Regional Advisory Council of Superintendents and currently serves as the South Texas Association of Schools President and the Region One Director for the Texas Association of Rural Schools.

LEO SAENZ is the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Specialist for Region One Education Service Center (ESC). We understand the importance of working collaboratively with our ESC. Having that partnership is extremely valuable and makes our efforts even more effective. RGV LEAD Executive Committee Board Member and Executive Director of Region One ESC, Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, has been an avid champion of this partnership and his leadership has been vital. Leo comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in CTE, as well as experience as a dual enrollment adjunct professor helping students find jobs and work-based learning opportunities. He served as Chairman and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for a CTE student organization, Texas DECA, which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

RYAN SOLIS is an attorney with offices in both McAllen and Raymondville-Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC. While he resides in McAllen, he grew up in Raymondville and is the current City Attorney for the City of Raymondville. We thought it’d be extremely valuable to have an attorney on board, as well as someone with ties to Willacy County since it’s one of the four counties we serve. Ryan has hit the ground running, and his legal expertise is already being put to use as we draft up certain contracts. Ryan also brings extensive nonprofit board leadership and fundraising experience, having served as the President and Gala Chair of Friends for Hope (an organization that raises money for the Vannie E. Cook Children’s Cancer Clinic) and serving as the current Past Board President of Boys & Girls Club of McAllen (including Gala Chair). He’s also served in various capacities for the Rotary Club among other organizations.

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