Retirement in the Rearview Mirror

Dr. Jorge Garza and other RGC faculty participated in a Call-a-Thon in July to encourage returning students to register for classes.

By Laura Nelson

Jorge Garza came out of retirement and has returned to his alma mater, Sul Ross State Univ., to join the Rio Grande College faculty this summer as Director of Education.

Dr. Garza spent close to 30 years in the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District (SFDRCISD), and said, "I retired, but I love the fact that I'm back changing the lives of students for the future and helping them become teachers." In his new position, he oversees all aspects of certification within the Education Department. He has set a goal to graduate fully certified, credentialed students who could start teaching the day after graduation.

Dr. Garza grew up in Rio Grande City, working in the fields alongside family. His parents bluntly told their children to continue their education or continue picking crops. Following high school, Garza attended Sul Ross in Alpine where he befriended SRSU's President, Pete Gallego. He named several professors who offered their support, but emphasized that becoming involved in a number of campus organizations such as the Business and Spanish clubs and the Young Democrats played a significant role in his success. He also met his wife, Rebeca Garza, while he was in Alpine.

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at Sul Ross and began working in retail following graduation. He soon discovered his heart was not in it and joined the Marine Corps. His last tour was in Japan and upon his discharge, Rebeca was already teaching in Del Rio. He also went to work in Del Rio schools as an instructional aide, then obtained what was known as emergency certification, and began teaching math. He earned his principal and superintendent certifications at SRSU Rio Grande College and then earned a doctorate in educational leadership at the Univ. of Texas San Antonio.

Garza served in various administrative positions in SFDRCISD, but loved the seven years he spent as a high school principal. He said he took great pleasure in seeing students start as freshmen and guiding them to find their own paths after graduation, whether it was in the military, in a college classroom, or in a technical program. He is gratified that he still runs into some of those former students and enjoys hearing about their lives.

Devoted to staying in shape, he enjoys exercising and running, and exercises his mind reading biographies of historical figures and successful people. He and Rebeca are proud parents of two sons, both engineers who graduated from Texas A&M. Sul Ross and students in the education program will benefit from Dr. Garza's enthusiasm for and commitment to Rio Grande College.