Across North Texas, teachers and staff are gearing up for the return to school. In Dallas, the district held its annual back-to-school rally, or convocation, on Wednesday. There was music, dancing and a pep talk from Interim Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.
Local radio personality Pelos Parados knew just how to get the crowd inside the Alfred J. Loos Field House hyped and movin’. Play some hip hop, rap, merengue.
Even some electronic music. Like “Turn Down for What” by Lil Jon and DJ Snake. Oh yeah. This group of teachers, administrators, staff and students was pumped.
That included Interim Superintendent Michael Hinojosa who – for a few seconds – busted a move as well. Soon after taking the stage, he had the audience cheering and laughing.
“I’m baaack,” he told them. “I’ve been back for 54 days and my greatest accomplishment is that I’m still the interim superintendent.”
He joked that the night the board of trustees interviewed him, after Mike Miles’ resignation, the lights in the administration building went out. It was weird, he said. But they hired him anyway because they couldn’t see him.
Hinojosa also praised the teachers.
“You know, some people like to beat up on teachers. I don’t,” he said.
The crowd went wild. Then, he poked fun at himself.
“I love teachers so much, I married two of ‘em,” he said. “Hey, I’m from Mexico, not Utah. … Ok … I got it right the second time.”
But after the joke about his second and successful marriage, Hinojosa got serious. He said he’s a big fan of early childhood education to help kids get on the right track.
He brought up his own experience – it was a teacher who left a mark on him. He said she was the one who convinced him to apply for a scholarship, which played a role in him becoming a teacher. His point: teachers play a crucial role.
“If we can get them school ready … we can get them college and career ready. No problem,” he said. “That’s important.”
Hinojosa also cited his support for career and technical training and the district’s school choice program. He said the new teacher evaluation system won’t go away, but he’s open to tweaking it. Also under consideration?
“For next year, if I’m still here,” he said. “I’ll work with you about considering maybe having a week off at Thanksgiving,”
The crowd really went wild then.
Hinojosa said he'll stay on as interim for as long as the district needs him, even if that means permanently.
"I said I'll be here for 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months, 10 years -- however long you need me to get this district going where you want it to go." he said.
For now, he's been out talking to people. He said he's asked 100 people 10 questions about where the district is now and where it should go. Next week, he plans to give the board a report on what he heard.