The challenger for the Tuloso-Midway Board of Trustees Place 7 seat is a former educator who spent more than three decades working with the students of TMISD.

Ofelia Reyes is a 1971 graduate of Tuloso-Midway High School, and her husband, Jose Reyes, and two children also graduated from the school.

In 1977, Reyes began working with the Head Start program at Clarkwood Elementary, and she spent the next 33 years serving in various roles in the district. Reyes taught physical education classes at the elementary level and also worked with special education students. Prior to her retirement in January of this year, Reyes was working in the Content Mastery curriculum.

"I've always had an interest in the educational field. I always wanted to be around children. It's been very rewarding throughout the years," Reyes said of her time with the district.

Reyes said she has always had an interest in serving on the school board, and she hopes to continue working in the district as a trustee.

"I'm not ready to give up being around the students and the community," Reyes said. "I wanted to continue to serve them, hopefully on a good decision-making team that is going to lead our district forward."

If elected, Reyes said her first priority would be to strengthen the finances in the district.

"I would make sure that I know how our finances are being spent, and the best way to spend our finances, and making sure that they are being spent in a way that is beneficial to the students, as well as the district," Reyes said.

Reyes said the district should also place an emphasis on preparing students to handle not just the technological challenges they will face over the next several decades, but also the day-to-day problems.

"Innovation has become a great part of society now. We're moving toward that type of knowledge," Reyes said. "We need to make sure our students are prepared for that type of knowledge in the future to be successful."

Reyes' opponent in the race is incumbent Place 7 Trustee Billy Lerma. Reyes said her 30 years of experience working within the district is what sets here apart from Lerma.

"(I think it's) My awareness, my hands-on experience, my knowledge with the district," Reyes said. "I have been in the system, and I am very well aware of the students' and the district's needs."