The HISD family is mourning the passing of Board of Education District III Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr., a dedicated servant to the children of Houston for 14 years and himself a product of HISD schools.
Rodríguez, who passed away on Wednesday, was elected to the board in 2003 and held every office, including assistant secretary, second vice president, first vice president, and in 2016, president of the Board of Education.
“We are heartbroken by the passing of Trustee Rodríguez, who was a pillar in the HISD community,” said Superintendent Richard Carranza. “He was a true advocate for educating all children and a champion for change. He was a wise man, a mentor, and a friend to us all. We will forever be indebted to him by his service to public education. His legacy will live on.”
HISD Board President Wanda Adams said Rodríguez was a strong leader in his community and supported the education of all HISD students.
“We are incredibly saddened by the loss of one on our beloved trustees. On behalf of the HISD Board of Education, I want to offer our condolences to his family, and those who reside in his district,” said HISD Board President Wanda Adams. “He served his community, his district and the students of Houston well. He made sure he was always a part of the process, even when he was going through difficult times. Trustee Rodríguez always put students first, always.”
Rodríguez was a champion of dual-credit and credit-recovery programs, as well as blended learning that put laptops in the hands of high school students. He also facilitated the establishment of the successful Maritime Academies at Austin, his alma mater, and Yates high schools, and he aided the creation of Liberty High School to serve older immigrant students. He also worked diligently to support the Milby High School community during the 2012 Bond Program.
Trustee Rodríguez graduated from Austin High School in 1970 after attending both Franklin Elementary and McReynolds Middle schools. A lifelong public servant, he served in the U.S. Air Force, worked as a community-relations specialist in the City of Houston, and was the founder of the MARVAA Corp., which provides assistance in education, housing, and community involvement.
From 2008-2011, Trustee Rodríguez represented HISD on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of School Boards, and in 2010 he was elected president of the Mexican American School Board Members Association. He was inducted into the National Hispanic Institute Hall of Fame in 2013. Trustee Rodríguez was the recipient of many accolades, including the Houston East End Chamber 2008 Education Impact Award, an HISD commendation for meritorious service, and a community service award from the Texas House of Representatives for his work with Houston youth.
Rodríguez and his wife, Virginia, celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary in May and have four children together. Rodríguez, his wife, and all four of their children graduated from HISD schools.
Visitation will be 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, at Crespo Funeral Home-Broadway, 4136 Broadway St., Houston, TX, 77087.
The funeral service will be 10-11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at St. Christopher Catholic Church, 8150 Park Place Blvd., Houston, TX 77017. A committal service will follow from 12:30-1 p.m. at Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX, 77038.