March has been an interesting month—a month with both good news and bad news!
First, the good news: The RGV LEAD Board hired a new Executive Director in March. Luis Rodriguez will report for work on April 1. Luis is a Brownsville native who became an Eagle Scout at age 13! He comes to us from over 10 years’ regional leadership for the Boy Scouts – first in Austin, then in the Valley. He and his wife live in Brownsville and are the proud parents of two daughters, ages four years and four weeks. There will be several months in which both Luis and I will be in leadership roles for RGV LEAD, but when the transition is completed, I will be moving into full retirement and my new job title will be Grandma. It has been a joy working with the people of the Rio Grande Valley, and I look forward to continuing to do that as we transition the leadership over to Luis Rodriguez in coming months.
Now, the bad news! The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has impacted RGV LEAD’s operations, just as it has everyone else throughout the Valley, the state, the nation, and the world. All RGV LEAD staff are working remotely, and this is the current status of our various initiatives:
RGV LEAD Scholars and the RGV LEAD Scholarship: Scholars materials are ready for shipping. Some school districts have let us know they want their materials in order to distribute to students, and our staff will ship from the office upon request. RGV LEAD still needs the lists of Scholars graduates for 2019-2020. Graduation as an RGV LEAD Scholar is a requirement to compete for the RGV LEAD Scholarship. The winner of that $5,000 award will be announced in early May.
RGV LEAD Student Ambassadors:
- The Student Ambassador Team Challenge that was set for March 28 was canceled. All teams that submitted complete applications for 2020-2021 have all been accepted. Our staff have already emailed sponsors to let them know.
- The Student Ambassador Orientation set for South Padre Island on April 28 was canceled. Activities will begin again in the fall.
RGV Academy Leaders Coalition: The session scheduled for April 16, which included a tour of the Port of Brownsville, was canceled. We plan to reschedule that session, including the Port tour, in the fall.
Academic Leadership Alliance Summer Educator Externships and Intro to Externships. These activities are all canceled for Summer 2020. However, the leadership team is already planning for Summer 2021!
Education & Career EXPO 2021: This event is scheduled for September 2020, at the Texas Southmost College ITEC Center. We hope that event will be held as scheduled; however, that depends on when offices reopen and planning can resume.
Young Entrepreneurs of the Rio Grande Valley Entrepreneurship Challenge. The event set for April 30 has been canceled. The leadership team plans to reschedule in the fall.
P-16 events set for May 13 at South Texas College in Weslaco. The regional P-16 Council meeting, regional Counselors’ Network meeting, and regional Leadership Team meeting are all canceled. We plan to publish the new schedule in August.
Regional Conference. We have reserved the facility and are making plans to have this event at the Mission Event Center on January 14-15. Interested partners are welcome to join us in planning, beginning in the fall.
Data Reports. The individual district data reports have almost been completed. We will share those reports with superintendents and others in the fall.