A special citizen’s advisory committtee has received the nomination forms containing the names of nominees and their biographical data which will be considered as the Edinburg school district seeks names for six new schools currently under construction. The nominations were presented to the “Naming of New Schools Committee” in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, March 22.

The session, which began at 6 p.m. in a second-floor conference room of the school district's Central Administration Building, featured the majority of the 14-member “Naming of New Schools Committee,” whose responsibilities include accepting the nominations, reviewing them, and submitting a final list of recommendations to the school board.

Those names will grace a high school, a middle school, and four elementary schools in the district which are scheduled to be built or renovated as a result of a $111.9 million bond issue overwhelmingly approved by Edinburg voters in May 2008.

A formal request has been made to the school district under the Texas Public Information Act for the names and background of the individuals nominated to the Naming of the Schools Committee.

At the request of the Naming Committee, the school district advertised in area newspapers that nominations were being accepted from the public. The school district also placed the announcement as well as the nomination forms and criteria on the school district's website at www.ecisd.us.

The formation of the committee and its goals also were discussed in open sessions by the school board, and news of the nominations process also was covered on the school district's television channel, KATS-TV, Channel 17, which is available to Time Warner subscribers.

Dr. René Gutiérrez, the school district superintendent, and María Luisa Guerra, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Support Services, met with the group of community leaders, which for the first time received copies of the nominations that were delivered to the school district by the Friday, March 12 deadline.

Prior to entering the closed-door meeting with the panel, Gutiérrez said the Naming Committee will study and evaluate all nominations before selecting the final six names that will be recommended to the full school board for action. The Edinburg school board may act on the recommendations at the April 13 regular board meeting if they receive a slate of names from the Naming Committee before that day.

Jacques Treviño, school district attorney, said the committee meeting was not subject the open meetings act and was closed to the public so as to ensure the fairness and integrity of the nominations process for each nominee and the Naming Committee members.

The members of the Naming of the New Schools Committee, who were appointed by the school board, are:

• Maricela De León;

• Cristina Flores;

• Lonnie Guerrero;

• Johnny Hernández;

• Lucas Hinojosa;

• Lydia Muehlberger

• Sandra Ochoa;

• Mark Peña;

• Pamela Ramírez;

• Noe Ramón;

• Domingo Rodríguez, Sr.

• Letty De La Viña-Shupe

• Chris Treviño; and

• Estella Treviño.

According to the Naming Committee’s recommendation for the naming process, all new schools may be named after the area or subdivision in which they are located or after individuals living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the educational program of the district as an educator, a volunteer, or community member.

In addition, the “Naming of New Schools Committee” will consider various criteria for the selection of a school name, such as the following:

• Outstanding character and reputation within community;

• Length of service as an educator or community member;

• Impact or influence on education or community or service to country;

• Level of service responsibilities; and

• Innovativeness as a servant leader.