Rio Grande College Welcomes Maria Gear

 Dr. Maria Gear will start teaching in the Education Department at Rio Grande College in August.

By Laura Nelson

Maria Gear remembers giving information to her social studies teacher, John Smith, while he pounded out her U.S. citizenship form on a manual typewriter during her junior year at Uvalde High School.

Mr. Smith not only helped her attain citizenship, his encouragement inside and outside the classroom plus the full support of her parents spurred her to be the first in her family to finish high school and also attend college. Gear took advantage of scholarships and earned an associate degree at Southwest Texas Junior College. The Uvalde native transferred to the University of Texas in Austin, and while not a big move in distance, her tight-knit family left her in a new world.

Life rarely moves forward in a straight line, and Maria took some time off after getting married and having a child, but later resumed her studies and finished a bachelor's in education. She eventually moved back to Uvalde where she taught and served as counselor for 10 years while working on her master's in counseling.

Her self-described thirst for learning sent her to the University of Texas in San Antonio to pursue her doctorate while she worked as a counselor at Oliver Wendell Holmes High School. Maria earned her doctorate in educational leadership and served as adjunct faculty with UTSA and Texas State before landing in Eagle Pass as counselor in the EPISD.

Dr. Gear described how continuing her education helped her deal with difficult times, explaining how she has met wonderful people and formed lifelong relationships that see her through. Always looking for opportunity, she applied for a full-time teaching position at Sul Ross Rio Grande College in part because she shares the same background as many RGC students.

She assumes her RGC teaching duties in August and will be based in Eagle Pass. Dr. Gear hopes to encourage and motivate her students just as her parents and Mr. Smith did for her.