SAN JUAN, RGV – A top official at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD will join President Barack Obama this morning at a special ceremony at the South Lawn of the White House to welcome world dignitaries.

Olivia Benford is PSJA’s Parent Engagement Department Director. The Parent Community Engagement Centers she oversees allow parents to take popular classes, such as English as a Second Language (ESL), General Educational Development (GED), citizenship and technology. Parents can also obtain certifications in Welding, Auto Mechanics and Security Guard.

Some of the classes can lead to college certifications. The courses are free but parents are required to do some community service, preferably where their child goes to school. This way the parents become more engaged in their child’s education.

The invitation to visit the White House came as a surprise to Benford and PSJA. Benford has served on various panels and webinars with the U.S. Department of Education highlighting PSJA’s work to engage parents in their child’s education.

The White House event is honoring the following dignitaries: President of the Republic of Finland; Prime Minister of Norway; Prime Minister of Sweden; Prime Minister of Denmark and the Prime Minister of The Republic of Iceland.

Benford told PSJA’s media office that she is honored to be at the White House joining the President and his wife today representing PSJA ISD and the Rio Grande Valley.

The Rio Grande Guardian published a feature on Olivia Benford and the PSJA Parent Community Engagement Centers on September 3, 2015. Click here to read the feature.