School board hopeful seeks success

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rolando Benitez Ocampo wants his son to grow up in the best environment possible, which is one of the reasons he hopes to get elected to the Austin Public Schools Board.

Benitez Ocampo filed for school board on June 2.

An alumni of both Austin High School and Riverland Community College, Benitez Ocampo has spent half his life in Austin. Through his experience in the school system, he’s seen its successes and a few places he feels he can help.

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“I am running for school board because I truly believe that Austin will be viewed as a potential template for other cities, and the root of that is the schools,” Benitez Ocampo said.

Benitez Ocampo

Benitez Ocampo

Benitez Ocampo received his two-year degree at Riverland Community College, and attended classes in Utah, as well as the University of Wisconsin — Oshkosh, for communication. He plans to go back to Riverland this year for the solar installer program. Benitez Ocampo hopes to bring the skills he gained during his college experience to the school board team.

Benitez Ocampo works full time at the Hormel Foods Corp. plant in Austin and part time at the Austin Municipal Airport. He is a member of the Salvation Army board and is on the Bike/Walk Committee for Vision 2020, as well as Spruce up Austin. He was also on several boards during high school and college.

He enjoys being politically active in the community and volunteering wherever he is able.

Benitez Ocampo said he hopes to help identify and assess team roles within the school board, and with his background in communication studies, help guide team efficiency. He said he is willing and motivated to speak with community members one-on-one.

“[I am] very willing to go speak to people, and educate them to help [them] understand they can bring anything they deem serious to the school board,” Benitez Ocampo said.

Benitez Ocampo hopes to teach community members how to best bring issues, as well as student hopes and needs, to the school board, to give the most information and allow the school board time to look into the issue. He hopes to find an efficient team to hear what the hopes and needs of the community are for the students.

If elected, Benitez Ocampo hopes to work with minorities and other diverse students and parents to get any help they may need.

“I want to make sure the incoming cultures, races, classes … have a representation here in the future,” Benitez Ocampo said.

He would also like to look at strengthening relationships between school activities and local businesses to help fund activities as well as teach students about things they may not learn otherwise.

“With the programs rising up in the city, catalyzing and implementing the synergistic needs with industries to create and develop new means of education for everyone, that has to become a priority,” Benitez Ocampo said.

But one of Benitez Ocampo’s main goals is further the partnership with secondary and post-secondary education. His longterm goal is to get all Austin Public School graduates to leave with their two-year degree to ensure all graduating students are prepared for the technical industry.

“I am a huge advocate with having the education and understanding what’s out there, knowing what the availability is, and help providing the tools and resources for the kids and their parents,” Benitez Ocampo said.

Outside of work, Benitez Ocampo enjoys fitness and working out, trying out new sports, and biking and racket ball. He is a strong believer in God, likes playing poker for fun, enjoys political activism and going to the Hormel Nature Center.