Stephen Balderas

  • The Early Years
    Stephen Balderas, who went by Esteban before his name was Americanized, is a true Hutto native, born and raised in this tight-knit community. His journey into the world of education and family service began here, shaped by the rich Hispanic culture that surrounded him.

    As a child, Mr. Balderas’ world was steeped in Spanish culture. He exclusively spoke Spanish at home until he started school, where he transitioned to English, although Spanish remained a presence within the home. His father, David, had roots that stretched across Hutto and West Texas. Growing up as one of 19 children, Mr. Balderas’ father experienced the life of a migrant worker. His father, mother - Teresa, and grandmother would tell stories of packing up their belongings into a massive truck, heading to West Texas to pick cotton, and returning to Hutto after the work was done. These tales included the weighing of large bags of cotton to determine their payout and resonated throughout Mr. Balderas’ childhood. 

    Lessons in Faith and Service
    When Mr. Balderas was around 12 years old, his father became a pastor. David instilled in him values of faith and service, emphasizing the importance of helping those in need. No matter how little one had, it was crucial to offer assistance whenever possible. Mr. Balderas vividly remembers an instance where his father's act of kindness extended to a Hispanic gentleman in need. The man required four new tires but couldn't afford them, so Mr. Balderas’ father approached the business owner and provided his credit card to ensure the gentleman received the tires he needed.

    His grandparents, Rosa and Luis Balderas, had an extensive family, with a remarkable 350 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. It’s no surprise then that within Hippo Nation, Mr. Balderas shares familial ties with several other families, including the Balderas, Chapa, Bagot, Rios, Axtell, Campos, and more. 

    Academic Journey and Family Legacy
    Mr. Balderas graduated from Hutto High School in 1994 as part of a graduating class with fewer than 40 students. The Hutto he knew with a population of just over 600 residents then was vastly different from today's bustling community. The population of Cottonwood Creek Elementary school today is larger than the entire population of Hutto in 1994. Education was essential to the Balderas family, with Mr. Balderas’ four brothers all attending and graduating from Hutto ISD. His wife, Cassandra, also hails from the district, having graduated from and worked at Hutto ISD. They have three children themselves who have already graduated from Hutto with two currently enrolled at the Hutto 9th Grade Center and Hutto High School. 

    Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time of Reflection
    As Hispanic Heritage Month unfolds, Mr. Balderas recognizes the significant contributions and influences of Hispanic culture throughout Texas. Growing up, he viewed everyone equally, unaware of the sacrifices his parents and grandparents had made for him. Stories Mr. Balderas later heard from his father of racial challenges he had faced growing up only further highlighted the resilience and strength his parents developed.

    Mr. Balderas’ heritage has instilled in him a deep appreciation for family and community. In Hispanic culture, he sees a strong emphasis on family ties, gatherings, and the joy of sharing meals. He believes in helping others and notes that it's common to find grandparents living with their grandchildren, showcasing the importance of family bonds. He finds joy in seeing the influences of Hispanic culture throughout the state of Texas in food, language and traditions. 

    Service and Bridge-Building
    Today, Mr. Balderas works in Hutto ISD’s Parent & Family Engagement department, in a role that allows him to connect with Spanish-speaking families in Hutto ISD. His ability to speak Spanish and empathize with their experiences helps him bridge the gap between homes and campuses. He's seen the impact firsthand: from helping families rebuild after storms to assisting widowed fathers finding employment, his work alleviates home-related issues so that students can focus on learning.

    The Importance of Perspective
    Mr. Balderas’ attitude on service was forged from his own experiences growing up and the actions his father modeled. Stephen explains his perspective as one that is built from the three P's: pace, place, and people. His childhood was marked by a simple pace of life, where the place was Hutto, and the people around him embodied a servant-minded spirit. Today, he continues to follow in his father's footsteps, making a difference in the lives of families in Hutto, embodying the values of faith, service, and community that have defined his heritage.