Mina Elementary School

Skip to main content

Bastrop ISD Fine Arts Director gets Performing Arts Center named in his honor!


(Bastrop) - Music and teaching run through Chico Portillo’s veins. Since he started teaching music at Pflugerville ISD more than 25 years ago, a concert of energy and excitement has filled his soul every time his students performed.


“We never talked about winning. It’s about performing. It’s about making great music. Making a great journey,” Chico said. His journey began in Pflugerville ISD at Westview Middle School, where he worked in the music department before moving over to John B.Connally High School. For him, this was where his career found its soul.


“Watching a band student grow from 6th grade to collegiate level was incredible. That was an incredible experience,” he said. The experience would last more than two decades in Pflugerville ISD. Portillo says, “It was a great place to make a career. Fantastic people. Fantastic students.”


After teaching for 12 years at Connally High School, plus his five years at Westview Middle School, Portillo would spend the next 8 years in administration as the Coordinator for Fine Arts for Pflugerville ISD. After 25 years, his treasured rhapsody was done. Portillo retired and for the next year, traveled around Texas judging UIL contests. He stayed busy at every interlude, but still “education is in my blood,” he says. It didn’t take long for him to accept a job at Bastrop ISD as Director of Fine Arts.


“The family feel is really strong here. I love the scenic and the historic City Of Bastrop. You can’t put a price on that,” he says.


Since coming to BISD this past summer he says he has been able to be in the classroom more often, meeting with the fine arts staff and guiding them to be the best that Central Texas has to offer. Most importantly, in his few short months, Portillo has become a visionary for the department. He sees growth in the number of performances and in the quality of performances. What he didn’t see coming was his own accolade for a lifetime of work.


In a special ceremony on May 17, 2017, Pflugerville ISD will rename the Connally High School Performing Arts Center, the Luis “Chico” Portillo Performing Arts Center. Tours will be given of the facility at 5:00 pm in advance of the official renaming, including performances and remarks, at6:30 pm.


“I thought, “Who? Me? Why?” It’s very humbling to talk about. I always thought I was just doing my job. It’s an honor. And what’s neat about it is that it’s a teacher who is being honored. I hold teachers in such high esteem,” he said.


Portillo’s contributions to Pflugerville ISD are many, which is why the school district has decided to name the performing arts center after him while celebrating Connally High School’s 20th anniversary. As for when he sees his name up there in lights, it’s not something Portillo has ever really prepared himself for. He knows getting here has been a team effort.


“I've had a great life. I’ve been so fortunate. My philosophy is winning doesn’t matter. The journey does. How you get there. The character you display. At the end of the day, we did it. We all did it,” he said.


Bastrop ISD is located 30 miles southeast of Austin and serves approximately 10,600 students from the communities of Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Red Rock, Rockne, Paige and other rural areas of Bastrop County.


For more information, contact Kristi Lee at (512) 772-7106.