Thank you for allowing me to quickly introduce myself! I was born and raised in McAllen. I am one of five daughters of Abdala (Lalo) and Alma Kalifa. 

My husband, Marcos Lopez, and I and our three children (two current McAllen ISD students and one graduate) live in OldeTowne, McAllen. 

I graduated from McAllen Memorial HS, received my bachelor’s degree in business HR at Texas A&M University in College Station and my master’s in business administration from the University of Texas-Pan American. I served on the McAllen ISD Board of Trustees from 2011-2015. I have continued to serve my community through the following organizations: 

  • City of McAllen • Planning and Zoning – Current Board Member 
  • Friends of IB Lamar Academy • Parent Organization – President ’21-’23 
  • Texas Lyceum • Alumni Member
  • March of Dimes • Walk for Babies Past Event Chair
  • American Cancer Society • Cattle Baron’s Ball Past Event Chair 
  • Tropical Texas Behavioral Health • Past Board Member 

I have been a Texas real estate broker for 20 years and a property tax consultant, along with my husband, at our small business, 956 Property Tax Consultants in McAllen. 

I am running for school board to help advocate for responsible budgeting and funding that supports student success and teacher/auxiliary/staff retention. My priority is to safeguard every tax dollar and make sure it is invested wisely. This ensures accountability and enhances transparency. 

Our district is facing major challenges: annual loss of student enrollment, high employee turnover, and a budget deficit in the millions that is currently covered only by one-time ESSER funds that expire in 2024. 

It is imperative that we ensure all children have access to a quality education. As the daughter of a small business owner, I share the pride and commitment of continuing our city’s legacy. As a small business owner now myself, as well as a taxpayer and life-long resident of McAllen, I am aware that quality public education is an economic tool that allows strong neighborhoods to thrive, builds cohesive communities, and allows our city to compete globally when attracting and retaining new businesses and families. Great schools are critical for a prosperous community and a sustainable economy. 

McAllen ISD is the largest employer in the City of McAllen. It is vital that we foster community engagement, which is only possible when our board of trustees welcomes honest and open feedback and involvement from our families and employees. I am grateful for your engagement in this most vital of decisions for the future of our city – voting in the McAllen ISD School Board Election. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to the children of our community and to our beautiful McAllen. 

Please visit Erica de la Garza-Lopez for McAllen ISD Trustee Pl 4. I look forward to meeting you and to earning your vote! 

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by McAllen ISD school board candidate Erica de la Garza-Lopez. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. De la Garza-Lopez can be reached by email via: [email protected].


  1. Ms de la Garza-Lopez says “great schools are critical”. EVERYBODY says that, even anti-education Republicans. She writes about funding and how money is spent, and I understand that is a important part of a school board’s responsibility. But what does she mean by “great schools”? What kind of education will she advocate for if elected? Does she want more or less standardized testing? Does she want more or less mandated curricula? How important are developing strong writing skills, and critical and analytic thinking? Should all students be encouraged to go to college, or only those who want to enter “white collar” professions, or who come from relatively affluent homes? I think citizens, especially parents, should have answers to these questions before deciding whom to vote for for the school board.

  2. Thanks Mr Freeman for taking the time to send me a message… As a mom, citizen of our beautiful McAllen, and taxpayer, I would say the term GREAT SCHOOLS means to me: quality teachers, well-rounded/strong curriculum, community involvement in a safe and supportive environment. I remember as a young student taking the CAT TEST (California Assessment Test) back in the 80’s at McAuliffe Elem, standardized test prep meant learning how to best bubble in a circle on a scan tron. Today, our students and teachers are drowning in prepping for the pretest to the benchmark test for the test to later review the test scores, Oî! IT’S A LOT! As a parent, I know we all wish it would stop. We want the teaching to the test would stop, but many of us understand that it is the necessary evil for ratings, funding and school enrollment trends. I am not for more standardized testing. I wish the standardized tests were used for a true measure of where a student stands, and not as a measurement or comparison of teachers, schools, etc. My hope that these tests would be to best see where our students need help and where they excel. Depending on the level of class course (IB, AP, CP, etc) should dictate the mandated curricula for such course. Though, districts should also ensure that the “points” assoc with such course should also be a reflection of the course rigor contributing to a student’s GPA bc we all know IB does not equal AP nor CP nor vice versa.
    Strong writing skills, critical/analytical thinking are vital; not only for success in their school courses but later in college, work or service. Not every child is meant or should be forced to be on the same track with the only destination being college. We have so many opportunities at MISD for trade professionals such as ac tech, welding, culinary and aviation + so many more, students/families can customize their education to their interests and desired future career path.
    Again, I thank you for your interest in this most important upcoming school board election. Please follow my campaign page on social media at: (copy and paste link in web bar).