Brownsville’s Salinas leading Dallas ISD athletics - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Brownsville’s Salinas leading Dallas ISD athletics

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Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 7:15 pm

Silvia Salinas says she will always be a hometown girl from Brownsville, regardless if she has risen to one of the highest positions in Dallas ISD as executive director of athletics.

“I am very proud to be from Brownsville, and I always will be because my background has helped me become who I am,” said Salinas, who has worked in the Dallas ISD athletic department since 2004 and was promoted to its top athletic post earlier this school year.

The 1989 Hanna graduate, born and raised in Brownsville, has become the first woman to hold the position.

Her new role involves responsibility as the one supervising the athletic programs at 22 high schools and 32 middle schools in Dallas ISD.

While she is Dallas ISD’s first female executive director of athletics, she isn’t the first one from the Rio Grande Valley to hold the position. Gil Garza, former athletic director and football coach at Edcouch-Elsa and PSJA, served as the Dallas ISD athletic director from 2014-17 before retiring. Prior to going to Dallas ISD, Garza served as athletic director in San Antonio.

Salinas previously worked under Garza, and there are a number of fellow athletic directors who support her in her new role in Dallas.

One of them is Paula Gonzalez, the McAllen ISD athletic director who was the volleyball coach at Pace when Salinas attended Hanna and ran cross country and track along with being a member of the dance team for four years prior to her graduation in 1989.

As fellow athletic directors, Salinas and Gonzalez have since become good friends and supporters of each other as women in an area mostly occupied by men.

“It’s super exciting to hear the news that Silvia has gotten the opportunity to become the athletic director for Dallas ISD,” Gonzalez said. “It’s exciting not only because she is female, but because she is an extremely hard worker who has a genuine interest in doing what’s best for student-athletes and coaches.

“She is definitely an advocate for all athletic programs, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will do an awesome job in this position,” Gonzalez added. “I congratulate her and wish her the best of luck.”

In addition to running cross country and track at Hanna, Salinas went on to compete in those sports at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) before graduating in 1993.

She began her career teaching mathematics and coaching in 1993 at Lockhart High School. She has also taught and coached at Dallas Skyline High School, Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., Dallas Bryan Adams High School, Richland College and W.T. White High school in Dallas prior to joining the Dallas ISD athletic department.

Salinas received an undergraduate degree in exercise and sports science from Southwest Texas State, a master’s degree in sports administration from Northwestern State, and a doctorate in higher education and athletics administration from the University of North Texas.

She is currently vice president of the Gridiron Club of Dallas and the Dallas Chapter of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.

When asked about those who have influenced her during her 27 years in education and 16 years in athletic administration, Salinas quickly mentioned coaches from her high school days at Hanna that included Joe Guerra, Ruben Fernandez and Paula Dodge. There’s also Joe Rodriguez, who was the Brownsville ISD athletic director during Salinas’ time as a student-athlete.

Salinas also credits members of her family for being a vital inspiration in her career. They include her mother, Rose-Anne Salinas, a former teacher and dance team instructor at Hanna; her aunt, Estela Zamora Kramer; and her uncle, Arnulfo “Zam” Zamora, a 1987 inductee into the Texas High School Athletic Directors Hall of Honor for his work in Laredo ISD.

Salinas is grateful for the opportunity to be in the position she now holds because she knows athletics is one of the things that attract students to school.

“It gets them involved (with the educational process),” she said. “That’s how I met coaches (and got to know them) as an athlete. My experiences in cross country and track & field at Hanna led me into the coaching profession. Paula Dodge, Joe Guerra, Joe Rodriguez (our athletic director then), and, of course, my mother, Rose-Anne Salinas, were not only my teachers, they were also my mentors and role models. They exemplified persistence, passion, commitment and dedication.

“I will never forget where I came from,” Salinas added. “Had it not been for my mother, my siblings, my teachers and coaches, I would not be involved in a career that I love. I can only hope I have the same effect on our (Dallas ISD) students.”

Salinas’ older brother is Michael Rudd, a former standout basketball player at Hanna during the late 1980s. She has two other siblings. They all graduated from Hanna.

Rudd is a loyal supporter of his sister in her new role with Dallas ISD.

“I am not surprised at her appointment as executive athletic director because she has dedicated her life to her career and achieving her goals,” said Rudd, who has two daughters he also strongly supports in athletics (Jordan in college basketball and Kennidy in high school soccer). “She has a tremendous work ethic, which I believe we all attribute to our mother.

“I am thrilled for her to be the first female executive athletic director for one of the largest school districts in Texas,” Rudd added. “It is a tremendous accomplishment. I could not be more proud of her, and I am excited for the student-athletes of Dallas ISD.”

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