Austin ISD advocates honored with HABLA awards

By Eduardo Villa

Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde and district advocate Gloria Vera-Bedolla were among 32 local Latino leaders honored at the Habla con Orgullo awards this month for their strong representation of the Hispanic community.

Why it matters: These honors show we’re making progress in supporting our largest community in Austin ISD.

  • At 55 percent, Hispanic students make up the majority of our students.

Details: The winners of the awards were voted on by the Austin community.

  • Dr. Elizalde was honored in the Latino/a Appointed Official category.
  • Mrs. Vera-Bedolla won in the Latina Community Leader category.
  • Austin ISD Trustee Noelita Lugo was nominated in the Latino/a Elected Official category.
  • HABLA is a group and forum that discusses and develops solutions on current affairs, public policies and quality of life issues impacting the local Austin Hispanic community.

Go Deeper: This designation is also a big step to earning back the trust of one of the district’s most historically marginalized communities.

  • There was a lot of distrust that happened, and this is the very beginning of building back the bridge with the community,” said Gloria Vera-Bedolla, AISD parent and education advocate. “I’ve seen her working towards improving the relationship between the district and families.”
  • It’s an honor to be the first Latina superintendent of Austin ISD, but the people who really deserve this award are Latino leaders such as Gloria who hold us accountable to make sure their kiddos get what they need to succeed in life,” Elizalde said. “I couldn’t be happier to win this award alongside Gloria, who has worked with me side-by-side to identify gaps where we could serve our community better.”

What they’re saying: “As the country and our city gets increasingly more diverse and as much-needed conversations about race continues, Latinos too, need to be part of America's and our city’s conversation on race, equity diversity and inclusion,” said HABLA co-founder Paul Saldaña, a former AISD trustee.

  • “I am so proud to see so many Latino leaders build each other up and push each other towards doing better things,” Vera-Bedolla said.