Mission mayor applies for La Joya ISD superintendent opening

In addition to leading a city, Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña is seeking to head the La Joya Independent School District by applying to be the new superintendent of schools.

O’Caña said he officially applied for the position Friday morning, hoping to maximize the use of his qualifications.

The mayor, who has worked at the district for 43 years, said he has a Ph.D. and a certificate to serve as superintendent.

He currently serves as the school safety director for the district.

The position of superintendent became available following the announcement by Superintendent Alda T. Benavides that she would be resigning.

As part of a separation agreement, the district agreed to pay Benavides $319,069, which equals a full year’s salary, plus reimbursement of 105 unused leave and vacation days.

Her resignation is effective June 30; however, the district already has an interim superintendent, Gisela Saenz, running operations.

O’Caña said he has the qualifications for the top job and touted his time as a principal when he introduced accelerated instruction to high school freshmen.

“And now those freshmen — some of them have a Ph.D., other ones are licensed professional counselors, others have a master’s degree. They’ve been very successful,” he said.

In addition to serving as Mission mayor, O’Caña served as a Mission city councilman from 2001 to 2007, and again from 2012 to 2018.