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PSJA ISD Trustees Sworn in, Elect New Board Officers  

The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) School Board of Trustees hosted the swearing-in ceremony of recently re-elected board

District makes history with three women elected to serve in board 


PHARR - The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) School Board of Trustees hosted the swearing-in ceremony of recently re-elected board member Carlos Villegas and new trustees Yolanda Castillo and Diana Serna, as part of a special called school board meeting held at PSJA Southwest Early College HS Auditorium Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. 


Newly elected Trustees Diana Serna (Place 2) and Yolanda Castillo (Place 3) are the fifth and sixth women to serve respectively on the school board in its history. They will all be starting 4-year terms. 


Rick Pedraza, who served as President for the 2021-2022 school year was given a special plaque during the ceremony to commemorate his tenure. Pedraza thanked his fellow board members and family for their support. 


“I would like to thank God for this opportunity, my wife for supporting everything that I do, and my family for their support,” said Pedraza during his outgoing remarks. “I want to thank the PSJA ISD community and taxpayers for their confidence and trust in me as a trustee for the last four years. I am not going anywhere I will still be advocating for public education in our community.” 


PSJA ISD looks forward to continuing the work and districtwide efforts to serve all students, parents, and staff under the continued leadership of the School Board of Trustees, according to Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. 


“It is my honor and pleasure to be part of this historic moment. These three ladies here are paving the way for other women to advance women’s equality as well as the decision-making for the district, community, and region. They are a rising generation of activists and advocates and leaders who are picking up the mantle, taking the baton, and they are moving things forward,” said Dr. Arredondo. “With their addition to our very competent professionals of diverse career background of Board Members, it will bring strength to our A-rated district, and I look forward to inspiring our PSJA family to even higher levels and continuing the strength of the Spirit of PSJA.” 


During the meeting, the school board also elected new leadership with Cynthia Gutierrez as President, Carlos Villegas as Vice-President, Diana Serna as Secretary, and Yolanda Castillo as Treasurer. 


"I thank God because he put me on the PSJA ISD School Board as a Trustee," expressed Diana Serna who will serve in Place 2. "I want to thank my kids for that constant support thank you all so much. My heart is very grateful. I am elated to be part of a Board where there are three women. In 105 years there have only been five women to serve at PSJA ISD. We’ll now add two more.” 


For Trustee Yolanda Castillo, a proud lifetime educator and former PSJA ISD principal, getting to now serve her PSJA ISD Family in this capacity is a great honor. 


“In 1968 my parents immigrated from Mexico in search of the American Dream. Today I tell them that they are looking at it,” said Castillo who served as Principal at Graciela Garcia Elementary. “Thank you to everyone who supported us, we did it together. To my fellow Board Members, I want to work together so that we can enhance our beloved PSJA. We’re going to take this district to the next level.” 


The PSJA ISD School Board of Trustees look forward to continuing the legacy of excellence at PSJA ISD and its mission of preparing all students to compete and excel in today’s global society. 


"Tonight is historical because these two wonderful women are going to be serving you,” said new School Board President Cynthia Gutierrez. "I want to invite all Board Members to work together so that we can move forward and work for our community."  


For video of the event, please visit School Board Meeting: November 17, 2022