SBOE Member District 1
Melissa N. Ortega (D)
Board Term: Jan. 1, 2023 - Jan. 1, 2025
Melissa N. Ortega was elected in November 2022 as the State Board of Education representative for District 1. Dr. Ortega was born and raised in El Paso Texas. She attended Ysleta ISD and Socorro ISD schools, graduating from Montwood High School. After attending El Paso Community College and Southwest Texas State University, she graduated from University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on education. Her graduate degrees focused on STEM education. She attended both the University of Umea Sweden where she studied Transnational Feminism and UTEP, where she received her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning & Culture. Her dissertation research focused on the identity and learning outcomes of mentor veteran teachers in STEM education.
Dr. Ortega has a full-time faculty position and Dissertation Coordinator role at the American College of Education online and serves as adjunct faculty in UTEP’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department. She holds Texas Teaching Certifications in middle school science, generalist 4-8, and Principal certification for grades K-12. She has several years of experience coordinating and directing programs in the university and school district settings where she supervised the Master Teacher Academies program for STEM Education, Field Experience and Student Teaching, Advanced Academics, Middle School Science District Instruction and Staff Development. She also supervised and ran the Academics division for Informational Technology for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of El Paso where she supported the medical school, dental school, nursing school, and graduate program of biomedical studies. Dr. Ortega was admitted into the Superintendent Certification program through the University of Arlington Texas in January 2017.
Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the Distinguished Leadership award in 2018, the InterGender Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Scholarship in 2011, and the Graduate Student Instructor Teaching Portfolio Award in 2010.
Dr. Ortega has presented her research at several conferences including the UTEP’s annual Women’s History Month Conference, the Southwest Diversity Summit, New Mexico State University’s Annual Mentoring Conference, Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, and the American Institute of Higher Education International Conference. Her research has appeared in journals such as the American Institute for Higher Education, Society for Informational Technology and Teacher Education, and i-manager’s Journal of Educational Technology.
Dr. Ortega is also a member of the Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She was also selected as the 2017 UTEP Homecoming Queen representing non-traditional and graduate students.
Outside of her career, she serves on the board of directors for the Rural Schools Education Program and Scholarship Foundation, the Director of Cotton Valley Comunitarios where students from the community of Fabens, Ft. Hancock, San Elizario, and Tornillo ISD are served. She is also a mentor for the Rural Schools Education Program & Scholarship Foundation for three West Texas 2018 graduating seniors. In the past she served on the Board of Directors for the El Paso Insights Science Center. In this role she facilitated ongoing educational outreach to schools within the region and worked collaboratively with the community to promote education. She founded the first 5K Run for Science where she facilitated the event and raised thousands of dollars in donations to help obtain more funding for exhibits. Dr. Ortega is currently working on a grant to help fund underprivileged students learn the fundamentals and science of rock climbing.
As the District 1 representative, Dr. Ortega represents Texans in the following counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Crockett, Culberson, Dimmit, Edwards, El Paso, Frio, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kimble, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Menard, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Schleicher, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Zapata, and Zavala. She represents urban, suburban, remote, and rural constituencies that cover more than 900 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.