Jesse Molina hopes to bring his life experience to the Place 5 seat on the Calallen Independent School District Board of Trustees and provide a voice for needy children in the district.
Molina is a 1986 graduate of Tuloso-Midway High School. He is single with no children, but helps care for a 9-year-old goddaughter.
Molina said he learned the value of education after dropping out of Del Mar College in 1986. He returned to school in 1995, and obtained a bachelor's degree in applied arts and sciences from Southwest Texas State University in 1998.
"One of the things that I can tell these kids is don't stop going to school. Because chances are you won't go back, and if you do go back, you'll probably go back years later like I did," Molina said. "I realized that education was important."
Following graduation, Molina became a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. He is currently a program supervisor for the Project Vista Treatment for Homeless program of South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services, where he has worked for the past four years.
"I really believe that each kid needs somebody in their life to help them avoid the mistakes we have made," Molina said. "Whether keeping kids involved in sports, school or church - they need to have somebody there."
Molina ran unsuccessfully for the Corpus Christi City Council in 2009, but he said that experience taught him valuable lessons he hopes to bring to the school board.
"When I ran for city council, I felt like I had this void, this desire to be a public servant, to work for the community," Molina said. "And that's one reason why I chose to run for Calallen ISD."
If elected, Molina said his first priority would be to ensure the district remains fiscally responsible.
Molina said he would also work to ensure the district complies with the Safe Schools Act passed by the Texas Legislature.
"A child who is afraid is not going to learn. A child who is disruptive needs to be educated as well and they obviously aren't learning," he said. "If a teacher is dealing with a disruptive child, the other kids are being neglected."
One problem the district faces in the immediate future, Molina said, is a rise in the number of students who come from low-income families.
"These kids who come from a low economic social status have some unique issues," he said.
Molina questioned the motives of his opponent in the race, Chad Wilfong, connecting him with Tammy McLendon, challenger for Place 1.
"My opponent works for Valero, one of the incumbents has an opponent (McLendon) who works for Valero as well. Coincidence? Maybe," Molina said. "Do we really need two people working for Valero seeking a seat on the board?"
Molina also pointed to his longevity in the community, and contrasted that with Wilfong, who has lived in South Texas for the past two years.
"Do the voters want somebody who has been here for 11 years, with family here since 1952, that has been involved and has a voting history, or do they want somebody who just moved to town?" Molina asked.