Like his favorite football team, Raul Gonzalez seeks greatness - not for himself, but for the Mansfield Independent School District (MISD), which he also loves.
A lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan who moved to the area from El Paso to attend the University of Texas at Arlington and be near his beloved team, Gonzalez has brought that same passion to his position as president of the MISD Board of Directors.
Recently he earned the title of Master Trustee following completion of a year-long leadership program from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). His plan is to help move the district, already considered by most to be one of the best in the state and one of a select group with the label "District of Innovation," in an even more positive direction.
"I am honored to be part of a network of school board trustees from around the state who have taken the opportunity to learn how to lead and work together to enhance school governance in Texas," Gonzalez said. "TASB Leadership graduates work to enhance our districts so that Texas children can not only succeed while in school but prepare for life after graduation."
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And that is exactly what Gonzalez works hard for, creating a better life for every student in the MISD. It is the basis for his TASB honor, which is the highest the organization bestows through its leadership program.
Leadership TASB is a development program designed to take experience board members such as Gonzalez to even higher levels of service and leadership. The program exposes them to a variety of issues, people, activities and locations. It also creates an opportunity to enhance school governance throughout the state by having trustees work together.
Gonzalez has been on the MISD board for seven years.
"Raul loves being a Mansfield ISD board member," said MISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas. "Even though he has reached the pinnacle of being elected by his colleagues as board president, he continues to take steps to better himself as an advocate for the MISD community."
Vaszauskas said Gonzalez has told him on several occasions that his greatest joy is simply helping youngsters. To do that, he and his fellow board members must consistently evaluate themselves and the superintendent, making certain they are always bringing the best to the students.
This, he said, is why the board is constantly setting goals for itself. Through them, the district moves forward.
"My personal goal after having attended TASB Leadership is to create a dashboard for school board members that could be used to evaluate ourselves," he said. "It would itemize the expectations for each board member as well as our duties so that as a board we can evaluate how we are doing individually and as a group.
"Each of us is up for re-election every three years and are evaluated by the voters. However, I believe that we should know our strengths and weaknesses so that we can work better as a board for our constituents and make improvements when necessary."
Much like his Cowboys as they work to get back to the Super Bowl.