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Featured: Francisco Guajardo, Ph.D., the new Chief Executive Director for the Museum of South Texas History (MOSTHistory) in Edinburg, and Shan Rankin, the former Executive Director of MOSTHistory who has retired after a stellar career that spans more than 30 years, will be honored at the cultural/historical center on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

Photograph By PAMELA MORALES

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Francisco Guajardo, Ph.D., succeeds Shan Rankin – both renowned figures in chronicling region’s borderland heritage – as CEO for MOSTHistory

By PAMELA MORALES

The Board of Trustees of the Museum of South Texas History, which is located in downtown Edinburg across from the $150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse which is under construction, on Thursday, September 12, 2019, announced the recent hiring of Francisco Guajardo, Ph.D.,  as the museum’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Guajardo, who resides in Edinburg, is the former Executive Director for the B3 Institute at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

“The museum has been blessed with excellent executive leadership over the years, and we are very pleased to welcome Francisco to the museum,” said Juancarlo Rendón, Chair, Museum Board of Trustees. “He brings unique skills and talents that will help take the museum to the next level.”

Guajardo assumed his role at MOSTHistory on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

Guajardo was born and raised on both sides of the Texas-Mexico borderland. He attended Edcouch-Elsa schools and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1987, a Master’s Degree in History in 1989 and a Doctorate in Educational Administration in 2003.

According to his biography, Guajardo’s areas of expertise feature Hispanic Serving Institutions, Latina/o leadership, community leadership, Latina/o epistemologies, and organizational change.
Guajardo taught high school and developed innovative curricular programs at Edcouch-Elsa ISD between 1990 and 2002. Thereafter he began his tenure at the University of Texas-Pan American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) where he became a full-time professor and the C. Bascom Slemp Endowed Chair in Education. 

At UTRGV he was the founding Executive Director of the B3 Institute, a university-wide office tasked with transforming UTRGV into a bilingual, bicultural and biliterate institution. Guajardo has managed three multimillion-dollar federal grants and authored or co-authored more than 50 academic articles and three books, including “Reframing Community Partnerships in Education” (2016) and “Ecologies of Engaged Scholarship” (2018).

Guajardo views MOSTHistory as “a key institution that represents the history of what South Texas has been, and the possibilities of what it can be.” 

As a son of the Texas-Mexico borderland, he is intensely proud of the culture and heritage of South Texas and believes the Valley is the crossroads of the Americas.

Guajardo succeeds Shan Rankin, who led the museum as its Executive Director for more than 30 years. 

During her tenure, the museum became accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and grew from a small county museum into a widely respected regional history museum. Under her leadership, the museum engaged in multiple capital campaigns that acquired adjacent properties, developed a museum complex that now occupies more than a city block and restored the museum’s cornerstone 1910 Hidalgo County Jail building. 

Since Rankin arrived, more than $43 million has been raised to operate and expand the museum and its services to the community. 

“These achievements were accomplished because of close board and staff collaboration, and community support for these efforts,” Rankin said. “Local governments, along with state and national foundations, supported the mission, and the result is that museum visitors consistently say that MOSTHistory is one of the best museums they have seen.”

For three decades, Rankin helped the Museum Board of Trustees preserve and share the borderland heritage of South Texas and northeastern Mexico.

“Shan grew this museum exponentially with the support of the Board of Trustees, Heritage Associates, FRIENDS of MOSTHistory and community and local government leaders,” Rendon said. “On behalf of the museum board, I would like to thank Shan for all that she’s accomplished to advance the museum’s mission to preserve and present the borderland heritage of South Texas and northeastern Mexico. We hope her involvement with MOSTHistory continues.”

“It has been a joy to lead the museum these many years,” Rankin said. “To come to work every day to do something good for our community and the generations to come, to generate pride in who we are as South Texans has been fulfilling and rewarding. I am deeply grateful to have worked alongside many exceptionally talented people and to have had the good fortune to make many friends along the way. I wish Francisco every success as he takes the reins of this wonderful institution and am pleased to be able to work with him to accomplish a smooth transition. I hope our community and our donors will continue to strongly support the museum and that new supporters will join the effort to help keep the museum going and growing. The Museum of South Texas History is the community storehouse of our regional identity, full of artifacts and documents that preserve and tell our stories to present and future generations – and I firmly believe wonderful stories are still to come.” 

An Evening with FRIENDS to welcome Guajardo and celebrate Rankin’s legacy will be held at the museum on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

To become a FRIEND of MOSTHistory or to renew an expired FRIENDship, and attend the event, please contact Cedar Risica at 956-383-6911 or crisica@mosthistory.org. You can also visit mosthistory.org/events for more information.

About Museum of South Texas History

The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 N. Closner Blvd. on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. 

Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. 

Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. 

For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and find them on YouTube or call 1-956-383-6911.

Guajardo Biographical Sketch: Selected Publications

• Maritza De La Trinidad, Francisco Guajardo, Peter Kranz, and Miguel Guajardo. “The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Reframing HSIs through a Multi-Sited Ethnography,” San Antonio, TX, University of Texas San Antonio: Association of Mexican American Educators Journal 11, no. 3 (February 2018): 50-83.

• Miguel Guajardo, Francisco Guajardo, and Leslie Locke. Ecologies of Engaged Scholarship. London: Taylor and Francis, 2018.

• Francisco Guajardo. “This is my story of language,” Edinburg: Crosspol: A Journal of Transitions for High School + College Writing Teachers Vol 3 , no. Issue 1 (January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2018): 5-16.

• Miguel Guajardo, Francisco Guajardo, and Leslie Locke, ed. Ecologies of Engaged Scholarship. NY, NY: Routledge, January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2018: 115.

• Francisco Guajardo and Miguel Guajardo. “The Llano Grande Oral Histories,” Austin, Texas: US Latina & Latino Oral History Journal Vol 1, no. Issue 1 (2017): 125-130.

• Miguel Guajardo, Francisco Guajardo, Chris Janson, and Matthew Militello. Reframing Community Partnerships in Education. NY, NY: Routledge, 2016.

• Francisco Guajardo, Miguel Guajardo, and Mark Cantú . “Where are they now? An intergenerational conversation on the work of the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development,” New York: Routledge Press, 2016.

• Miguel Guajardo and Francisco Guajardo. “La Universidad de la Vida: A Pedagogy Built to Last,” London: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 30, no. 1 (November 2016): 6-21.

• Miguel Guajardo, Francisco Guajardo, and Leslie Locke. “Introduction to ecologies of engaged scholarship: stories from activist academics,” London: Taylor and Francis 30, no. 1 (November 2016): 1-5.

• Amy Weimer, D Kuri, L Correa, Jennifer Esquierdo, and Francisco Guajardo. “Desiring dual language education: One community’s perspectives on past and future directions for bilingual learners.” Journal of Bilingual Education Research and Instruction 17, no. 1 (2015): 1-11.

Guajardo Biographical Sketch: Selected Publications, Selected Grants and Fellowships

• Alexis Racelis. Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM Through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Community Engagement, National Science Foundation, $1,480,002 (October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2023).

• Maritza De La Trinidad. Historias Americanas – UTRGV B3, U.S. Department of Education, $2,024,557 (November 1, 2018 – September 30, 2021).

• Maritza De La Trinidad. THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CIVICS EDUCATION-NATIONAL ACTIVITIES GRANT, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, $2,014,557.00 (October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2021).

• Alyssa Cavazos. Biliterate/Multiliterate Writing Practices in Academic and Community Discourses, Office of Research, Innovation, & Economic Development, $16,700 (January 2017 – May 2018).

• Francisco Guajardo. LEER MAS: Latinos Engaged in Early Reading in Math, Arts, and Science, WK Kellogg Foundation, $1,200,000.

• Francisco Guajardo. LEER MAs & Play (Latinos Engaged in Early Reading in Math, Arts, and Science), $3,000,000.

• Francisco Guajardo. Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science Research competition, $10,000. 

• Amy Weimer. Proyecto POSIBLE: Predicting Positive Outcomes and Success Involving Bilingual Learners in Education, $10,000 (2013).

• Francisco Guajardo. Project Lead, Department of Educational Leadership, US Department of Education, $750,000 (2006 – 2009).

Guajardo Biographical Sketch: Selected Presentations

• Maritza De La Trinidad and Francisco Guajardo. “Historias Americanas: Innovation in Teaching and Learning Regional History, Culture, and Geography in the Rio Grande Valley”, International Conference 2019, National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates, Merida, Yucatan, MX (August 2019)

• Jennifer Esquierdo, Francisco Guajardo, and Amy Weimer. “How to Nurture Bilingual, Biliterate and Bicultural Children”, National Association for Bilingual Education, Dallas, Texas (February 2017)

• Francisco Guajardo and Jennifer Esquierdo. “Building a Bilingual, Bicultural and Biliterate Community through a Bilingual University”, National Association for Bilingual Education Conference, National Association for Bilingual Education, (February 2017).

• Federico Guerra and Francisco Guajardo. “An Oral History of Bilingual History in the Borderlands of South Texas”, University Council of Educational Administrators, UCEA, San Diego, Calif. (November 2016)

• Jennifer Esquierdo, Francisco Guajardo, Y. Rivera, and L. Salinas. “Lessons learned from four Mexican students in the borderland: A conversation among friends”, National Association for Bilingual Education, Chicago, IL. (February 2016)

• Roberto Zamora, Federico Guerra, Velma Menchaca-Ochoa, and Francisco Guajardo. “Engaging in Transformative and Culturally Competent School Leadership”, University Council of Educational Administration Conference, University Council of Educational Administration, San Diego, California (November 2015)

• Jamie Starling, Maritza De La Trinidad, and Francisco Guajardo. “Latino Americans Discussion”, Texas State Technical College, Harlingen (September 2015).

• Jennifer Esquierdo, Francisco Guajardo, Amy Weimer, and Y. Rivera. “A Framework for Building a Bilingual University: Involucrando con las escuelas, comunidades y familias”, National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE), Las Vegas, NV. (March 2015).

• Federico Guerra and Francisco Guajardo. “An Oral History of Bilingual Education & the Racial Integration of South Texas Schools”, University Council of Educational Administrators, UCEA, Washington, D.C. (November 2014)

•Maritza De La Trinidad, Francisco Guajardo, and Ángel Noé González. “Ángel Noé González and The Bilingual Education Movement”, Texas Association for Bilingual Education Annual Conference, Texas Association for Bilingual Education, McAllen Convention Center, McAllen (October 2014).

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David A. Díaz contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).

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