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EPISD Director provides guidance and opportunities for students

Alberto Silva Fernandez
David Cervantes is the director of athletics at EPISD and a UTEP graduate with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s in educational leadership.

David Cervantes is the current director of athletics for the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) and a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in educational leadership. 

Cervantes served as interim director of athletics at EPISD for a little more than a year before being appointed director of athletics in May. Previously, Cervantes served as assistant athletic director for about five years, while also lecturing part-time at UTEP. Cervantes said several students he taught at UTEP went on to also work for EPISD as physical education or athletic team coaches. 

For about two years, Cervantes worked in the EPISD curriculum and instruction department where he oversaw the physical education department within the district.  

Prior to his involvement at EPISD Central Office, Cervantes was a physical education instructor for the district and was a baseball coach for El Paso High School. 

Cervantes spoke on the challenges he faced throughout his career. “You have to be able to face challenges with an open mind. Know that things aren’t always going to go your way,” Cervantes said. “Once I was able to put that in my mindset, I was able to accomplish more things coming through the ranks in the school district.” 

Cervantes acknowledged the difficulties that come with managing such a large school district. 

 “Being such a large school district, there’s a lot of moving parts, so I always try to focus on what students needs are going to be, what can I do help students achieve at a higher level,” Cervantes said.  

He also brought up how, in 2012, EPISD was recognized by the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) Innovation, an initiative founded by former First Lady Michelle Obama which was dedicated to increasing and improving physical education in schools.  

With this recognition from ASAP, EPISD was able to secure several grants for physical activities allowing several athletic programs to flourish as a result. Cervantes approaches his work with one thing in mind: the student’s need.  

“We see what athletic facilities are the ones in the greater need of upgrades, and then we kind of tackle it project by project,” he said. “With our new superintendent and leadership, they’re really focused on right-sizing our district, and making sure we can provide the best opportunity for kids.” When asked about how he delegates such a large school district, Cervantes praised his staff which consist of the central athletics department, administrators, campus athletic coordinators and coaches.  

While studying at UTEP his freshman year, Cervantes also worked with the City of El Paso through the Parks and Recreation Department. He worked all throughout the city at recreation centers managing several sports leagues for youth and adults.  

“It really geared me and got me ready for a job like this,” he said. “I feel the preparation I had during college working with the City of El Paso, working with the Parks and Recreation Department, Club Rec, summer leagues, youth leagues really helped me understand what running an efficient athletic program looked like. “Cervantes said there is opportunity within the EPISD Athletic Department for UTEP students looking for work and experience that will advance their careers. The Athletic Co-op Program allows students currently enrolled in a college or university to coach at an EPISD middle school.  Students interested in the Athletics Co-op Program can access an interest form via the EPISD Athletics website or call the department at (915) 230-2250.

“I think [the co-op program] is a perfect program to get our potential teachers and coaches ready, so that [students] can say, ‘Hey, do I really like this or not,’ first of all. Second of all, they get to build those relationships,” Cervantes said. “They are already on campus, they get to meet the principal, the other teachers, the coaches, the athletics office so when they do graduate, they potentially already have a potential job lined up for them coming out of college. That is a program that we are really excited about, and we’re glad we offer it here at EPISD.”

Cervantes urges students interested in a career in athletics to volunteer as much as possible.  

“Just wrapping themselves as much as they can around sports programming and any type of internship or work activities, they could do can really help them get a feel for what coaching is and what teaching is about,” he said.  

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and can be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
Alberto Silva Fernandez
Alberto Silva Fernandez, Contributor/Photographer
Alberto Silva Fernandez is a sophomore, majoring in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a photographer for The Prospector and freelances covering the borderland. When he isn’t covering events Albert likes to study politics, play video games, and listen to music.
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EPISD Director provides guidance and opportunities for students