Michael A. Vargas
Michael A. Vargas was elected to the San Benito CISD Board of Trustees in May 2015. He firmly believes that access to an excellent education for ALL children, despite the circumstances into which they are born, is the central civil rights issue of our time.
Vargas is a product of San Benito CISD. He was named Salutatorian for San Benito High School’s Class of 2005, becoming a first-generation college student with a full scholarship awarded from Brown University. Named a Sydney Frank Scholar at Brown, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 2009. In 2011, he earned a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. His Master’s thesis is titled, “The Effects of Student Reflection on Student Achievement.”
Vargas began his teaching tenure in the St. Louis metropolitan area through the prestigious Teach For America program. He completed his first year of teaching Social Studies in the Wellston School District in North St. Louis, Missouri. After the state decided to close Wellston’s doors, he transferred into the Hazelwood School District his second year, where he taught for two years. He was quickly promoted to an Instructional Coach, supporting Social Studies curriculum and instruction for high school. Vargas then accepted the position of School Accountability Manager, where he was in charge of full oversight and implementation of the Missouri State Improvement Grant.
Vargas used his position as an educator to focus on the racial disparities and opportunities in the St. Louis metropolitan area by helping to write and implement a first-of-its-kind course in the state on Social Justice. With final approval from the Board of Education, he helped pilot and taught the course during the 2012-2013 academic year across the entire district. He also assisted as a founder of So.J.A.M. (Social Justice Awareness Movement), which is a student organization charged with creating awareness and promoting action in the community about social justice issues in our society.
Vargas has been invited to speak on several panels regarding social justice issues in America: the American Association of University Women’s Gender Studies Symposium and most recently a panel entitled “Allies, Co-Conspirators, and Coalition-Building: Showing Up for Justice Across Lines of Power” at Teach For America’s 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C.
Vargas also became a member of the National Education Association (NEA) via the state chapter in Missouri. In his local association, he was elected to the Executive Board consecutively representing the interests of teachers and their professions. Vargas climbed to the state leadership level very quickly, accepting an elected position as a member of the Executive PAC Committee.
Vargas dedicated most of his time as a member of the Human Rights and Ethnic Minority Affairs Committees, and also helped found and chair the first-ever Hispanic Caucus for Missouri National Education Association. Vargas was also one of a few association members around the country invited by then-President Dennis Van Roekel to attend and take part in the NEA’s Inaugural “Dialogue on Social Justice,” which took place in Washington, D.C.
Vargas grew an early experience in policymaking – he served as a policy intern for the Texas State Senate in Austin, a congressional intern for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill, and worked with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Presidential Classroom in Washington, D.C.
Vargas is also invested in lending his voice and talents at the state level. After only his first year in office as a district trustee, he was tapped to serve as a Legislative Advisory Council Representative to the full Legislative Committee for the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). He was one of 95 school board members selected to develop TASB’s legislative program for the incoming legislative session in Austin, Texas. He is also a member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Vargas currently works as a political professional and most recently, helped to elect former state representative Sylvester Turner as the next mayor of Houston, Texas. He works full-time as the Manager of Candidate Ready Development for Leadership for Educational Equity, a political leadership development organization based out of Washington, D.C. He is the son of Adelaida (Montez) Vargas and the late Jose Manuel Vargas, and was born and raised in the El Jardín neighborhood.
Michael A. Vargas E-mail address: email@example.com