Avellaneda celebrates one year as GISD superintendent


The Gonzales Independent School District celebrated one year under the leadership of Dr. Elmer Avellaneda last week. 

Avellaneda was hired as the new superintendent of schools at GISD after the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year, and he immediately had an impact on the district and the community. 

“I'd like to thank the community for welcoming me with open arms and supporting me in my first year, you know, I can't be successful without community support,” Avellaneda said. 

“The successes that I've had this year has been directly correlated with the support that I've received from the community. It's been a wonderful year because of the community support,” Avellaneda added.

Avellaneda enter the job with a goal of being an “authentic leader,” being actively part of the school district and the community. 

“I think I have done a great job with being involved in the community, being visible in the community, listening to the community’s needs and wants, and being transparent with the community every step along the way,” Avellaneda said. 

Under Avellaneda’s leadership, the school district approved several partnerships that’ll benefit the students and the district; this includes a partnership with Victoria College with three different pathways for students for electrical, plumbing and HVAC. 

“This will not only help students get certified in these three pathways, but also give them something tangible they can have when they leave the high school to gain a well-paying job,” Avellaneda said. 

The district also started a grow-your-own initiative that helps staff members who are close to finishing their four-year bachelor’s degree get the support they need to finish their degree.

Lastly, the district began a partnership with the YMCA and brought in a satellite YMCA for the 2023-24 school year. 

“GVEC has been a huge partner with that and has helped us financially to get that started. We have really supported our staff and the needs they had in the classroom, as well as created a positive climate and culture in our community and district,” Avellaneda said. 

Avellaneda had to deal with challenges in his first year and one of the biggest obstacles was gaining trust from the community. 

“That has been a priority for me since I arrived and I'm continuing to be that authentic leader that this district and community needs to gain the public's commitment and the public's trust,” Avellaneda said. 

Entering year two as superintendent, Avellaneda said the district is facing obstacles at the state level and some things are still up in the air at the Texas Legislature.

“There's just so much up in the air at the state level. And it's hard, it's difficult to plan what we need to do moving forward financially when a lot of the things are still stuck at the state level,” Avellaneda said. 

The 2023-24 school year will have projects that includes security and safety, Avellaneda said, adding there are several initiatives to improve academics as well. 

“There's been a lot of discussion with the Board of Trustees on a potential bond for this upcoming academic school year. So (it’s all about) safety, security, academics and a potential bond for the upcoming school year.” Avellaneda said. 

When asked about potential bonds, Avellaneda said he and the school board are in the discussion phase at this time. 

It’s been over 365 days since Avellaneda became the superintendent at GISD, and he has a message for the version of himself which started on day one.

“Wear very comfortable shoes. You’re going to be everywhere and you're never going to be in your office, you're never going to be sitting down. You're going to be meeting with the community. You're going to be out in the community. You're going to be leading meetings out in the community,” Avellaneda said.