Mathias wins Place 2 on school board, says he will be first openly gay AISD trustee
Austin school board newcomer Dr. Rev. Jayme Mathias narrowly defeated incumbent Sam Guzman early Wednesday morning to represent District 2, an area of East Austin deeply affected by last year’s school board decision to convert a neighborhood school to an in-district charter school run by an outside organization.
That controversial move made the unseating of a board member less surprising than it might have been.
What was a surprise was Mathias’ post-election comment to a reporter that he will be the first openly-gay school trustee, something he hadn’t mentioned during his campaign.
However, people involved in the election — including his opponent — said they knew Mathias is gay, and it wasn’t an issue.
“We figured if we were going to win, it was going to be for the right reasons,” said Guzman. “My team was mature, experienced, reasonable people and we didn’t think that (making it an issue) was good for anybody.”
Said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, which represents 3,000 district employees and backed Mathias: “I want to think that this is not an issue in Austin and that no one will be punished because they are gay. We should be proud of it.”