Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators
/ATPE/media/News-Magazine/22_news_fall_VolunteerSpotlight-750x150.png?ext=.png /ATPE/media/News-Magazine/22_news_fall_VolunteerSpotlight-750x150.png

Volunteer Spotlight: Antonio Mercado, Edinburg ISD

The thousands of ATPE volunteers across Texas are the backbone of this association. Their hard work and dedication allow ATPE to serve the state’s largest community of educators. In this ongoing ATPE News series, we spotlight volunteers who set a great example of service to their fellow educators. NEXT UP: Antonio Mercado, a social studies teacher at Economedes High in Edinburg CISD and ATPE’s 2021-22 Top Recruiter. 

ATPE’s Top Recruiter Shares His Best Tips 

As ATPE’s top recruiter in 2021-22, Mercado convinced dozens of new members to join the association. He attributes his success to simple tactics he believes will work for anybody.  

Mercado suggests starting to recruit those closest to you to with a clear, simple message.  

“Start with your campus first, and get to know everyone there,” Mercado says. “Talk to potential recruits one on one and get comfortable with that. I always try to highlight the best benefits and show them the facts, such as we are the largest association in Texas.” 

Additionally, Mercado makes sure to focus on sharing the benefits of ATPE membership with potential associate members.  

“Let’s not forget the associate members,” Mercado says. “Once you sign up these members, the word spreads. I’ve had custodians and cafeteria workers knock on my classroom door and say, ‘Hey, are you so and so? Can you tell us a bit more about ATPE?’ It’s been very successful.” 

Most importantly, Mercado says that successful recruiting—like teaching—requires patience.  

“Don’t become discouraged. You’re not going to get everyone. Just be honest with them and be professional, and they will see that and appreciate that. I have seen people be part of other associations for 10-15 years, then switch over to ATPE after they see how our association operates.” 

Don’t Forget About Current Members 

When recruiting, it can be easy to focus on those who are not already members of ATPE. However, Mercado says that as a local unit president, when he thinks about recruiting, it is important to remember the educators who have already joined the association. 

“It’s important not to forget about the veteran members and show them some love as well,” Mercado explains. “Because if you recruit a bunch of people, but a bunch of people leave, then you are back at square one.” 

That’s why Mercado always looks for opportunities to thank current members for their loyalty to ATPE and make them feel appreciated. Sometimes, this is as simple as sharing some extra ATPE pens with members who stop by the table when Mercado is recruiting. More recently, he put together special gifts for members who have been with ATPE for 10 years or more.  

“I ordered water bottles with the ATPE logo on them,” Mercado recalls. “I put some candy in them and took a day off work to go out and deliver it to them on campus—just as a way to say we appreciate you.” 

Gifts like these not only make the members feel appreciated, but also, as Mercado explains, they further increase the visibility of ATPE.  


Interested in becoming an ATPE volunteer? Reach out to ATPE’s Volunteer Program Coordinator at

Author: ATPE Staff