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Dear Neighbor,

I want to tell you a story about someone who changed my life. 

I had just arrived at a new middle school where I didn’t know anyone. Within a few weeks of me starting, Elizabeth Lopez decided that I was going to be what ended up as her lifelong project. She was my music teacher, and she instilled in me a lifelong love of music. But, she also pushed and fought for me to enroll in advanced classes knowing that I could handle them even if I didn’t know it at the time. Even after middle school she checked in with me, she supported me and helped fill in the gaps that my immigrant, single mother of four wasn’t able to fill. She even took me on college visits. Teachers like her are the reason why I worked as a middle school teacher, and where my passion for education comes from. Without her support, I would not be the man or father that I am today. It is to help create a system that embraces and emboldens teachers like Elizabeth that I am running for the State Board of Education.

There’s no sugar coating the fact that the current educational landscape all across the country has its challenges. But, for decades, the State Board of Education has not done enough to help our teachers or our kids. Our schools are underfunded, our teachers unappreciated, and consistently, District 11 has been ignored by the people who are supposed to support us.  We need to fight to roll back the losses in education created by the pandemic. We need to work to create schools that give students the opportunity to go on and be productive members of our community. As your representative on the SBOE, I would work to ensure that all students are getting a quality education from Pre-K to high school by advocating for adequate investment in public education. We must work to close the achievement gap for students of color, students with disabilities, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. We need to work hard to ensure that our students are being challenged and gaining skills to be able to think critically without the anxiety of standardized testing. 

My daughter Amelia is about to turn three. As I imagine the education ahead of her in District 11, I know that we need someone who will fight for better resources and opportunities for our schools at the state level. I want her to find not one Elizabeth, but an entire school full of people who can help her grow and learn. To do that we need to create educational systems that listen to the feedback from students, teachers, parents, and the community, to create world class schools right here in District 11. This District is changing before our eyes. I have lived here for almost seven years, and even in that time our community has grown in ways we could never have dreamed. We need someone who embraces and welcomes that diversity, and someone who will support an education system for everyone. 

Today, I ask you to support my candidacy for District 11 on the Texas State Board of Education. I look forward to listening to the things that matter to you, and the things you hope to see improved in District 11. Together, we can build the educational systems our students deserve.

Luis Miguel Sifuentes, Candidate for District 11, Texas State Board of Education

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