EL PASO, Texas - Santa Clara County Board of Education Superintendent Xavier De La Torre spoke to ABC-7 Thursday afternoon about being chosen as the lone finalist to be superintendent for the Ysleta Independent School District.
"(I'm) absolutely excited," De La Torre said in a phone call with ABC-7. "Yet, it's a very humbling feeling because unlike most candidates, having spent time in El Paso, you rely on your reputation and the work that you've done in the past. It's a pleasure to know that I'll have an opportunity to do that again in a community that my wife and I and our family found to be one of the most fulfilling of both our personal and professional lives."
De La Torre will be leaving behind a wide scope of duties to focus on students and teachers.
"That's the work that I love," De La Torre said. "That's the work that I really embraced and did when I was in the Socorro Independent School District. And so that was probably the biggest factor in that I want to simply work in a district and not a county office of education or a regional service center."
De La Torre was overseeing 32 different school districts in Santa Clara County. As the superintendent of YISD, he'll oversee the third largest school district in El Paso County.
The YISD Board of Trustees vote to approve De La Torre was a close one, with four board members voting in favor -- three against.
There are concerns about his performance as well. On the issues De La Torre will likely face - declining enrollment and falling budgets - he will have to overcome the skeptics, particularly with the concerns coming out of his current position in California.
YISD Board member Shane Haggerty said, "With the answers he gave, I would be willing to give him the opportunity to prove himself. But again, staying cautious. But I think if he comes in with the right attitude, if he comes in ready to go to work, I'm absolutely willing to work with him."
"Dr. De La Torre preferred to return to a local district and continue the work in which he had been previously engaged," said Leon Beauchman, Santa Clara County Board of Education president.
"The Board respects his decision and wishes him well in his new endeavor. The path forward for the Board is to designate interim leadership for the County Office of Education and to begin the process of selecting a new superintendent as quickly as possible," Beauchman said.