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El Paso ISD

Quick Facts

60,000 students.

91 campuses.

8,000 employees.

Diana Sayavedra

Located in El Paso, Texas, the El Paso Independent School District is the largest district in the Texas Education Agency’s Educational Service Center – Region 19. With nearly 60,000 students in 91 campuses, EPISD also is the 12th largest district in Texas and the 61st largest district in the United States. It also is El Paso’s largest employer with 8,000 employees and has an annual operating budget nearly $500 million. Organized in 1883, EPISD is not only a large district, but also one rich in history. In 2008, EPISD celebrated its 125th anniversary. EPISD’s mission is to graduate every student prepared for higher learning and careers to empower them as knowledgeable and engaged citizens, innovators, and drivers of a robust, bicultural economy.

EPISD seeks to provide all young scholars with an academically rigorous, character-based education, focusing on the “whole–child”. This approach seeks to assure EPISD graduates are not only academically prepared, but also well rounded, civic-minded young citizens. To this end in 2014, EPISD instituted a requirement of 15 hours of Community Service per semester for every high school student. Through this and other initiatives, EPISD seeks to assure its students serve their local communities. EPISD is currently expanding dual language programs across all of its elementary schools, 9 middle schools and 3 High Schools. Additionally, EPISD is seeking to strengthen its current magnet programs while simultaneously expanding specialty academies across the city.

EPISD leadership has instituted district wide PSAT and SAT days for all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, and all 6th-9th graders take introductory SAT and ACT courses. In 2014 EPISD created a district-wide summer school available for all students and also was the first large urban district in America to utilize “teacher–created” digital textbooks for high school core content. In 2015, EPISD introduced “PowerUp EPISD” to transform “teaching and learning” in its classrooms by providing teacher professional development focusing on active–learning and student–centered instruction. Through PowerUp and the introduction of New Tech Network Schools, EPISD will seek to more deeply engage students through inquiry–based learning, project based learning and a deeper focus on collaboration in the classroom. To supplement, “PowerUp”, EPISD will provide all high school students with a laptop computer to be used in school and at home. This program will supplement the pedagogical changes in EPISD’s classrooms and will expose EPISD’s young scholars to a 21st Century education.


Diana Sayavedra

TUC Chair-Elect

“I want to hear from the entire community about the district’s points of pride and better understand the opportunities for growth so that I can work closely with the Board to chart the course for the District to be the District of choice in El Paso.”

A new era in EPISD begins Jan. 4 when lifelong educator Diana Sayavedra takes the reigns of the region’s oldest and largest school district. The 30-year veteran educator will be the first permanent woman and Latina superintendent in its more than 140-year history.

Sayavedra, who was selected as the sole finalist after an extensive search, signed her contract Dec. 8 after a short executive session and a unanimous vote by the Board.

“I’m looking forward to working together with the Board and building a team of eight so we can chart the course for success to make the school district a world class school district and the best in the state,” she said, shortly after signing her contact. “It’s just an honor and a privilege to serve as next superintendent in El Paso ISD.”

Among those in the audience watching this historic moment in EPISD were members of Sayavedra’s family, including her daughter Soledad Sustaita and dad Dr. Leo Sayavedra. She thanked her father specifically for leading her on the path to a superintendency.

“The passion and conviction that I have for the education for children comes from my father,” she said, her dad proudly watching from the front row. “He taught me three things: operate with integrity, never forget where you came from and make sure you give 100 percent in everything you do.”

Sayavedra was selected by the Board as the sole finalist for the job on Nov 16.

“Ms. Sayavedra is a dedicated educator who understands communities like ours and who has made it her mission to create instructional opportunities for students of all backgrounds,” he said. “The Board of Trustees is in full agreement that our historic vote to hire our first Latina superintendent will have a positive impact in the lives of children for many years to come.”

An expert in curriculum and instruction, Sayavedra started her teaching career 30 years ago in Laredo, Texas where she grew up. She has served in different leadership roles in education throughout the state including a stint as interim superintendent of Fort Bend ISD. Sayavedra received a Bachelor of Arts in English and physical science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in education administration from Texas A&M University. She currently is finishing a doctorate in philosophy in education administration from Texas A&M.

“I feel like I’m coming to a community that mirrors the community where I grew up in and where I started my career, so I feel like I’ve come full circle,” Sayavedra said. “I feel honored and connected already to the community of El Paso.”

Sayavedra, who plans to spend her first days in EPISD listening and learning, said she will soon present a Superintendent Entry Plan to outline the strategies and goals that will guide her initial days in the District.