By Brittany Anderson
“It’s Hays CISD forever,” according to Merideth Keller, a HCISD school board trustee whose term will end next month after a 12-year run.
The HCISD Board of Trustees took time to recognize Keller on April 25, presenting her with a wall poster commemorating her time on the board and reflecting on her years of service to the district.
Keller was first elected to the board in 2010 and has served multiple roles, including president from 2015-2019, vice president from 2012-2013 and secretary from 2011-2012. She has held the role of secretary again since 2021, until her term ends in May 2022.
Board president Vanessa Petrea called Keller’s service to the district “unmatched,” praising her unrelenting mission to “put the education of kids first.”
“You’ve laid an incredible foundation for what board service and leadership looks like,” Petrea said. “You’ve made it your mission to raise up leaders and build leadership capacity for our board’s sustainability and the district’s longevity. Good leaders lead; great leaders raise up other leaders. We will do our best to follow your example. We will ask hard questions, hold people accountable, do our due diligence and dig in when things get hard. Most of all, we’ll stay focused on our mission and not get mired in the minutiae.”
With the exception of vice president Raul Vela, Jr. who was not present at the meeting, superintendent Dr. Eric Wright and trustees Esperanza Orosco, Courtney Runkle, Dr. Esmeralda Pérez-González and Will McManus also highlighted Keller’s lasting impact on the district, community and board members themselves.
“You started the turnaround,” McManus said. “When things were so bad in this district, you were one of the first people to step into the fire and say, ‘We’re going to fix this.’ A lot of us came along, but only because you were brave enough to step in and start that.”
Keller said that throughout her time on the board, she has said 1,716,214 words — “and every one of them matters to me.”
“Everything here matters so much,” Keller said. “I feel secure that everything is going to be ok. As long as the education of kids is our true north, we’ll always land where we need to, by listening and talking and hearing each other. It’s going to be better tomorrow than it is today. [Being a trustee] is the most important thing I have ever done, outside of my family.”
Keller’s seat, Single-Member-District 4, will be on the ballot during the May 7 election. Vying for the seat are Byron Severance and Amy Grant. The Single-Member-District 5 seat will also be on the ballot, with incumbent Esperanza Orosco facing off against Bear Heiser.