San Antonio is a city that thrives on its community involvement. This city is made up of more than buildings, traffic, Spurs or breakfast tacos. Its vibrancy is because of its people. Our educators and the knowledge, skills, and guidance they provide future generations, and potential life-long San Antonians, are the backbone of our strength as a city.

As San Antonio continues to evolve and grow, education must be one of the top priorities. We also define public schools as those within the Independent School Districts and had the opportunity to speak to School Board Trustees Sandy Winkley and Sandy Hughey from North East ISD (NEISD) who shared their passion for education, school districts’ struggles, how public schools differentiate themselves from other schools, and the impact public schools have on our community.

Trustee Sandy Winkley is not only an alumna but also enrolled her children in a San Antonio-area school district. Mrs. Winkley was elected in May 2018 and transitioned from being a parent volunteer to volunteering on the district level.

Struggles Facing Public Schools  
School districts often utilize creativity in allocating their budgets and funds. Because of the decline in state funding, they must be strategic in ensuring programs are adequately funded. A critical issue that schools face is the different learning styles that are needed to educate all students. Schools will modify to help students succeed, and that might mean developing more programs.  Although the budgets continue to shrink and many districts are currently working with the lowest budgets in the last ten years, there were many positive aspects to public school that Mrs. Winkley talked about in our interview.

Public Schools Stand Out
Mrs. Winkley emphasized that students come from different learning backgrounds and, in other institutions, may be combined into a classroom where they’re expected to keep up with the curriculum in the same manner as others. She stressed how our public schools accommodate and encourage students to receive the education best suited to them. As a mother, she admitted that selecting an educational institution is very personal and there are many considerations to consider. She suggested a few tips for parents in choosing what school to send their child:

  • Research and learn about the programs and resources the district and schools provide
  • Look at turnaround rates in teachers
  • Consider the average number of students that start and end their education in the same place

Community Involvement 
Mrs. Winkley was passionate about the impact that public schools have on establishing a sense of community throughout San Antonio. She mentioned programs for children and adults, provided by the schools, for the entire NEISD community. While there is not one correct solution for increasing the budget or enrollment, the community can support their neighborhood schools and public education through participation. Forms of participation include attending athletic events and performances, volunteering, enrolling into public schools, and voting.

Mrs. Winkley stated that public schools are ”generating a society that is going to be pretty awesome, but even greater than that, they help build communities.” In addition, various groups who participate and help fuel schools are critical to their success. She goes on to say that, “Grandparents are not just on the spectator side, but the volunteer side as well.”  She notes that grandparents attend board meetings and express concerns, supporting her view that involvement is multigenerational. NEISD recognizes grandparents through a program called the Grandparents Card. The card allows grandparents living within the NEISD boundary-free entrance into sporting events.

Trustee, Sandy Hughey who enthusiastically talked about teachers and added, “Teachers are involved in their students’ success. They want to see their students overcome challenges and succeed at every level by being part of their students’ progress.” She also added, “Students’ success generates teachers’ success. That’s why teachers have a high degree of involvement with their students in relation to academics.” She also mentioned that their involvement “also promotes strong communities.”

We want to thank Board Trustees Sandy Winkley and Sandy Hughey for their time and all the insight they provided us.

Sandy Winkley Interview and Article – UTSA Student Groups
Rebecca Awtrey
Adam Bloom
Miriam Bustos
Matthew Crawford
Jacob Palans

Sandy Hughey Interview – UTSA Student Group:
Michael Kenning
Cameron Spano
Austin Lawrence
Dalton Jacobson
Juan Jose Espinoza Flores