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Susanna Woody is a Del Valle ISD Trustee. She has been serving her community and school district for over 10 years. Woody has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of teachers and staff across the district.

Woody wanted to change the district from within. She began implementing new programs and providing the best education possible for students of Del Valle.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure [the students] don’t suffer like we did when we were growing up,” Woody said.

In 2019, Del Valle ISD won the H-E-B School Board of the Year Award.

Woody has also worked with the Del Valle Community Coalition for over 10 years. The group seeks to improve the quality of life for those living in Del Valle.

Woody’s focus is education, but they care about more than that. The Del Valle Community Coalition also focuses on the health of their community. Woody and her team have been critical in providing care during the pandemic.  

June 21, 2021

We were going to the store. We were going to the community knocking on doors. We had a lot of people come in from the neighborhood that’s right across the street, which was one of the main points of why we did it here at the school,” said Susanna Woody, President of the Del Valle Community Coalition.

Woody said people who got vaccinated today told her the struggles they’ve had finding an appointment elsewhere.

“It’s either they don’t have access to a provider, they can’t get online registration because it’s a huge ordeal, or they don’t want to wait 3 hours at COTA to get vaccinated,” Woody said.

April 11, 2021

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“Our community was hit very hard because we already lacked a lot of the basic resources that a normal community would have like health care facilities and the grocery stores and all that,” Woody says.

Woody is president of the DVCC, which responded to gaps in local pandemic response last year. The DVCC partnered with the Austin Latino Coalition to hand out personal protective equipment, Covid-19 information and help residents get tested. This organizing work became vital as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations failed to reach the Del Valle community, forcing the DVCC to once again come up with alternate plans.

“It was unfortunate, but it really highlighted like this is a real issue here in this community and we need to do something about it,” Woody says.

May 17, 2021

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MARCH 19, 2021

"The Del Valle Community Coalition is a member of Saldaña's ALC. Its president, Susanna Woody, a Del Valle ISD trustee, says an online system is a challenge for residents without reliable internet access, or for English-language learners or the elderly without much digital proficiency. "It's harder for our people of color ... to access and to understand what's going on without having somebody walk them through [it] step by step," Woody told us on a Saturday afternoon earlier this month....... 

Woody, who with DVCC has long pushed for better infrastructure, fresh food, and health care facilities in Southeast Travis County, says the agencies that have vaccines to administer "need to make a bigger effort into getting out to the people, going to those communities, instead of having the communities come to them." She and Saldaña both note that in areas that have historically been long neglected, working with the people and groups whom neighbors know is vital to gaining their attention and then their trust. For vulnerable residents in Del Valle, even knowing the dangers posed by COVID-19, making time to get vaccinated isn't high on the priority list, said Woody. "Going to work, feeding their families, that's important to them."

"Residents have been traumatized by the storm, and it is frustrating to see our local government’s lack of response to dealing with the aftermath," said DVCC president Susanna Woody in a release. "Historically, Del Valle has been a low priority for the City and County. We are accustomed to being on our own, so DVCC stepped up to provide services and resources to get us through this latest disaster. Our Coalition’s quick response in creating a partnership with Tesla enabled us to provide aid to our community that would have been delayed or nonexistent had we depended on the City or County."

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May 5, 2020

“We’ve been advocating for years to address these issues, like food insecurity, inadequate mass transit, lack of infrastructure,” said Susanna Woody, president of the Del Valle Community Coalition and a Del Valle ISD school board member. “And then COVID comes in, and they take away our health care resources and just make life harder for a community that’s already underserved and underrepresented.” 

March 3, 2021

“Neglect.” That’s what Susanna calls it. 

 

That’s why she’s worked so hard to harness the power of grassroots activism to put continued pressure on elected officials to bring more resources to Del Valle. Together with two organizations – the Del Valle Community Coalition (the activist arm) and Del Valle Blast (the social media arm) – she has spent a lot of time focusing on two key issues – health care and food access. 

Created in 2004, Central Health is a public entity (funded by local property taxes) designed to connect low-income, uninsured Travis County residents to high quality, cost effective health care.

 

But according to Susanna, for years, these services were not very accessible for those living in Del Valle and eastern Travis County.

That’s why, several years ago, Susanna and several community activists started pushing Central Health to provide funding to bring more health care services into eastern Travis County. 

For the community activists who fought so long to get a health care clinic opened in the area, and then to have it shut down when the community needed it most was a tough pill to swallow. 

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April 23, 2020

“Susanna Woody, Del Valle ISD trustee, community organizer. Del Valle is my life right now.”

That’s how Woody, a 36-year-old mother of three, introduced herself to the Travis County Commissioners Court during a September meeting where commissioners would approve the fiscal 2019 county budget. Woody told the commissioners that the county and Central Health, the county’s public health provider, weren’t doing enough for Del Valle — a community with only one health clinic, a facility that was open only two days a week.

Jan 20, 2019