As a father of two young children, Jose Zavala was deeply affected by the violence committed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
His concern encouraged him to put his name in the running for the school district election, scheduled for Feb. 5.
Zavala challenges incumbent Roswell Independent School District board member Peggy Brewer for a seat in District 3, which covers most of city’s southwestern area.
A licensed State Farm customer service representative, Zavala, 28, also serves as a board member for the Hispano Chamber of Commerce and S.O.Y. Mariachi, a free, volunteer-run mariachi school for kids that teaches them performance skills and how to play instruments.
As an RISD board member, he said ensuring student safety would be his main goal, as well as addressing rising concerns of parents in the community.
“RISD has a good safety program,” Zavala said. “But I’m coming into this with a parent perspective and I want to beef up the program that is already in place.
“I want for us parents to feel safer and teachers to feel safer in their work environment.”
He said he would push for more security measures in schools, such as a more effective system for locking doors.
Another goal Zavala has is to motivate students to stay in school and increase the graduation rate.
A Roswell native, Zavala attended RISD schools and is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.
He said he wants to help the district to create programs that would encourage student achievement and continuing education after high school.
“I went to school here and I care about the education and well-being of every student,” he said. “In the long run, everyone benefits from a higher education.”