Coming from a working-class immigrant family that is both indigenous and Latino (Otomi and Mexican), Noelita was encouraged to excel in school and was the first in her family to graduate from college. With a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas, Noelita has devoted her 20-year career working in state public policy focused on family-centered child support, workforce development partnership programs and young parent and fatherhood programs.
A mom & advocate
When their oldest son entered Pease Elementary, Noelita and her husband felt like most new AISD parents, unsure of what to expect but committed to contributing to the campus community made up of a racially diverse families from all over the city. In addition to joining the PTA, Noelita served as the Co-VP of Membership and later volunteered for the Campus Advisory Committee and served as the Parent Co-Chair (2019-20) of CAC. In the fall of 2019, however, news broke during “Back to School Night” that Pease Elementary was one of 12 majority-minority campuses slated for closure. She became actively involved in organizing communities and do her part to ensure parents, teachers and students had a real voice at the table. She attended AISD community meetings in neighborhoods across the city, and joined efforts with public education advocates, dual language and special education parents, and neighborhoods from the affected schools.
While the eventual outcome was disappointing, as AISD moved forward over the objections of parents and community voices, Noelita never backed down from her belief that supporting education takes a community. Today, Noelita is running for the AISD School Board on an agenda that is inclusive, not divisive — expanding community voices, advocating for all students, and ensuring a more open and collaborative process in decision making to promote the success of every child.
A leader for the future
Noelita envisions an AISD that ensures:
- All students receive a rich educational experience, beyond one that is centered around test preparation and scores, with the goal of molding lifelong learners who can reach their full potential
- Parents and caregivers are fully invited and welcomed to the table, where they are respected and empowered to be active partners in their child’s success.
- And campus leaders and educators are respected and consulted as the professionals they are when determining effective approaches to teaching, learning and accountability.
Noelita is a co-founder of Save Austin Schools 2019 and has joined other coalitions such as Reframe the Game, East Austin Coalition for Quality Education, AISD Equity Coalition, HABLA, Dual Language/Lingue Dual Austin, Coalition for Special Education Equity in AISD, and the Community Resilience Trust. She is the mother of three, a toddler and two elementary-age AISD students.