Freer School Board incumbent Roy Salazar, who is seeking re-election for Place 4, says he’s enjoyed serving three years as a trustee and looks forward to another term.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the other board members very much,” he said. “We’re a good team and that’s what it takes to make the best decisions for the school district.”
Salazar said also as board member, he wants to see the final completion of the school district’s $23 million campus renovations and additions project as well.
“I had just begun when the bond issue was only an idea,” he said. “I’ve been involved from the very beginning, and would like to still be on the board when it’s finished and is successfully being used by the students and school staff.”
Salazar says he’s proud of the improvements that have been accomplished during his term.
These include programs that were introduced to students to help boost grades, as well as two new sports to the athletic program, which are golf and powerlifting, he said.
Among the learning programs initiated were C-SCOPE to increase scores in core subjects, and the Voyager Reading Program to benefit students at elementary level, he said.
Salazar says he feels it’s particularly important the elementary children learn to read.
Each week, he says he loves to volunteer as a reader at Norman Thomas Elementary.
“I do this as a person just wanting to help, not as a board member. I love doing it,” he said smiling. “Because an elementary librarian cared about me when I was little, I believe is what led me down the right path in my life.”
He explained Mrs. Gardner, the elementary librarian, asked how he was doing in school one day after he stopped by.
“I said I was doing fine in everything except reading, that I had a 72,” he said.
She then asked him if she could give him a reading test, and that she might be able to help him.
He took the reading test but didn’t do very well on it, he said.
“She told me I read each word very well, but that my problem was comprehension,” he said. “She then offered to tutor me three days a week.”
Salazar said because of the tutoring, he was amazed how much his grades soon improved.
“That one little difference changed my life so much,” he said. “And she never acted like it was a big deal. She never made me feel bad that I had a terrible problem.”
He says he knows for sure that his life would be very different today if it had not been for her.
“See, being in law enforcement, I have to do a lot of reading, and there’s no way at all I could have been able to do this kind of job if I hadn’t been helped,” he said. “I’ll always, always credit her for my being where I am today.”
Raised in Harlingen, Salazar graduated from high school in 1979 and attended Southwest Texas State University. For three and a half years, he worked as a police officer in Harlingen.
For 24 years, he’s worked as a Texas State DPS trooper and has lived in Freer.
“I know what a hard time kids can go through, especially being a father. I want all students to succeed,” he said. “Every child has the potential to be something really great.”
Salazar has two sons, Rene and Anthony, and has three stepchildren, Johawna, La Toya and Joshua. His wife, Irene, is employed as a teacher at Freer ISD.
He is opposed by candidates Crescencio Acevedo Jr. and Josie Fernandez in the Nov. 4 election.