Roel Saldivar: August 2014 Employee of the Month

Roel Saldivar Roel Saldivar, Employee of the Month for August, is the dean of students at Chávez High School, a position he has held for the past six years. He has been a member of Team HISD since 2004, and was initially hired as a teacher at that same campus.

As the dean of students, Saldivar is responsible for developing the academic programs at Chávez, and working with parents, students, and teachers to build a culture of high expectations there. In 2011, he helped launch Chávez Prep, which requires participating freshmen and sophomores to take a full load of advanced core courses, and he has boosted enrollment figures among students zoned to Chávez by publicizing the school’s many improvements and attractions. Saldivar has also acted as the campus liaison for HISD’s EMERGE program since its creation at that school by a colleague in 2010.

Born in Channelview, Saldivar now lives in Pasadena, the city where he grew up. When not working, he enjoys playing poker, watching live sports, and perfecting his barbecue recipe.

“Roel is the dean of our Chávez Prep program, and one of the people behind its creation,” says Principal René Sánchez. “Based on his work, Chávez’s Class of 2014 produced the largest number of passing Advanced Placement (AP) scores, the largest number of kids who took and passed AP tests, and the largest number of scholarships in Chávez’ history. He has also been our liaison with EMERGE since it began, and as a result, it has been very successful here.”

“Mr. Saldivar is always there for his students, from writing a letter of recommendation to counseling,” said Felipe Guillen, the valedictorian of Chavez’s Class of 2014, and the person who nominated him. “He takes time out of his day whenever you need him, and he helped me push through some hard times when I just felt like crashing down. A lot of my classmates—and myself—find ourselves asking him for advice, and since he is so accessible, the student body is drawn to him.”

“Roel is such a great role model for the students, having come up in the Pasadena area not too far from Chávez, and graduating from Harvard,” says former principal Dan De León. “He’s got a big heart and he is able to talk to kids about all the opportunities out there. Several years ago, we were losing quite a few of our zoned students to other schools due to magnet programs, so we started Chávez Prep to pull them back in. And he has done an awesome job of promoting it in the community.”