Dr. José Espinoza
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Jose Espinoza has served as Superintendent of Socorro Independent School District since September 2012. His expectation from Day One has been “We must educate and treat our students as if they are our very own children.” His tireless work to overcome obstacles for all stakeholders, boost achievement levels, and raise the standard of excellence for Team SISD earned him the prestigious national 2017 $20,000 Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education. The prize included $10,000 provided to the district in Dr. Espinoza’s honor and a $10,000 personal prize for Dr. Espinoza, which he donated to students in the form of scholarships.
Dr. Espinoza also led Socorro ISD to being the first district in a non-HEB market to earn the coveted HEB Excellence in Education Award for Outstanding Large District. In addition, Dr. Espinoza met with representatives from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan and submitted a grant application, which led the way for Socorro ISD to earn an $800,000 Kellogg Foundation grant for the nationally recognized WIN Academy that he launched to support vulnerable children in the district. This year, his efforts also led to the district winning a $300,000 Raise Your Hand Texas Raising Blended Learners Grant due to the district’s success in building blended learning environments for students.
In addition, through his leadership efforts, Team SISD passed a $448.5 million Bond in 2017 with the highest approval rating among large school districts in the region in recent bond elections. He is also one of the first superintendents in the country and the first superintendent in Texas to earn National Superintendent Certification through AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Dr. Espinoza’s “100%...No Excuses” vision of excellence to ensure no child is left behind has been enthusiastically embraced by our students, staff, board members, parents, and community evidenced by the countless local, state, and national awards the district has earned as a whole.
“Achieving Success as a Team” describes Dr. Espinoza’s leadership approach, which has inspired Socorro ISD stakeholders to work together as Team SISD and soar to new heights. Specifically, in May 2012, SISD was behind the state in 9 out of 17 STAAR exams for students in grades three through eight. Once Dr. Espinoza was hired on September 2012, he led by example and modeled a data-driven, hands-on leadership approach. Two short years later in May 2014, Socorro ISD outscored the Texas passing rates in ALL 17 STAAR exams in grades three through eight. This was an accomplishment never achieved before in the history of Socorro ISD. Remarkably, this milestone has been achieved for six consecutive years.
Currently, Socorro ISD is the largest school district in the state of Texas to earn both of the state’s top honors including an A grade and the prestigious Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation. Socorro ISD is the only district to reach this milestone in a pool of the largest 25 school districts in the state while notably serving an over 90% minority and over 70% economically disadvantaged student population.
Dr. Espinoza’s collaborative approach enabled him to establish a positive and productive working relationship with SISD’s Board of Trustees who were named the 2012 and 2015 Region 19 Board of the Year, a 2015 Texas Honor Board, and 2019 HEB Excellence in Education School Board/Leadership Award Finalist. Dr. Espinoza also was named the 2016 Region 19 Superintendent of the Year, 2018-2019 Texas K-12 Tech Savvy Superintendent of the Year, 2019 Sam Houston State University Distinguished Educator of the Year, and led Socorro ISD in earning recognition as the national 2017 Consortium for School Networking (COSN) Team Achievement Award winner as well as a national four-time Best Communities for Music Education Award winner from 2017 to 2020.
Dr. Espinoza has 24 years of experience in the field of education that includes his time as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, district administrator, and superintendent. Throughout his educational career, he has built strong relationships by communicating and collaborating with key stakeholders in the various school district communities he has served.
During his first year as an urban middle school principal in Houston ISD, Dr. Espinoza led his campus to it’s first-ever TEA Recognized Rating under the TAKS test era. Dr. Espinoza led his students and staff to even greater heights as they ultimately earned a TEA Exemplary Rating. Although his campus served predominantly minority, economically disadvantaged students, Burbank Middle School outperformed more affluent campuses in the district as well as the state. In 2009, Dr. Espinoza was named the North Region Houston ISD Secondary Principal of the year. He earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University and a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling as well as a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Texas–Pan American.
Follow the Superintendent on Twitter @JEspinoza_SISD