Manuel Rodríguez Jr. has served consecutive terms on the Board of Education since he was first elected in 2003. He has held every office on the Board, including assistant secretary, second vice president, first vice president, and president.
Trustee Rodríguez has been an advocate for dual-credit programs, blended learning with laptop computers for high-school students, and credit-recovery grad-labs, and he has facilitated discussions for the establishment of the Maritime Academies at Austin and Yates high schools, along with Liberty High School for older immigrant students.
A graduate of Stephen F. Austin High School (Class of January 1970), Rodríguez received an associate of arts degree in social sciences from Solano Community College and studied organizational behavior management and marketing at the University of Houston. He served as a part-time community-relations specialist in the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department's Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations from 1998 through December 2004.
A computer specialist in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1977, Rodríguez served the Air Training Command in Lubbock, Texas, in the 601st Tactical Command Wing and was attached to NATO at Lindsey Air Station, in Wiesbaden, Germany. He finished his tour at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. His primary carrier responsibility was as a computer programmer and operation specialist; he was also the Airman Training NCO and was the EEOC/Drug & Alcohol Relations Liaison.
Trustee Rodríguez is also the founder and president of the MARVAA Corporation, which provides assistance in education, housing, and community involvement. Rodríguez served from 2008-2011 as the HISD director for Houston on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of School Boards and in 2010 he was elected president of the Mexican American School Board Members Association. In 2013, he was inducted into the National Hispanic Institute Hall of Fame, and was the recipient of the Houston East End Chamber 2008 Education Impact Award. He has been awarded an HISD commendation for meritorious service as well as a community service award from the Texas House of Representatives for his long-time dedication to working with Houston youth. He was named a James Deady Middle School Volunteer of the Year and one of the Outstanding Young Men of America.
In 1997, Rodríguez served on HISD's task force to review the state comptroller's audit of the district, and he was a member of Parents for Public Schools and a national board member for the organization from 2000 through 2005. He was also a board member for the Gulfgate Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and the Hispanic Housing Education. Rodríguez was alumni president for Austin High School and is a lifetime member. He is currently serving as the SFA Alumni Association Newsletter editor, and he is an active member of the Pecan Park Civic Association and St. Christopher Catholic Church.
Rodríguez and his wife, Virginia, celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary in May 2016 and have four children together. Rodríguez, his wife, and all four of their children graduated from HISD schools.