Teach For America Rio Grande Valley is hosting its annual gala at the Mission Event Center on March 31.

As normal, the group will be giving out three awards at the gala.

Former UT-Brownsville president Dr. Julieta V. García is being recognized as an “Educational Champion.” Teach For America says Garcia has demonstrated “individual leadership which advances educational excellence for many students through a sustained commitment to supporting students, schools, and the broader community.”

When García was named president of Texas Southmost College in 1986, she became the first Latina to serve as a college president in the United States. This past July, President Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Dr. SantaPaula Gama Garcia is being honored with the “Alumni Leadership” award. In 1998 Gama García joined Teach For America as an elementary bilingual teacher at Mercedes ISD. Since then, she has served as a teacher, principal, district administrator and non-profit leader for organizations like Educate Texas and most recently Teach For America.

Valley Grande Institute for Academic Studies is being honored with the “Institutional Catalyst” award. For 30 years, Valley Grande Institute has been serving the Valley by supporting students through their journey towards becoming medical professionals. Teach For America says the group “stays committed to providing a workforce for the growing healthcare industry in our region.”

Anabell Cardona, president and CEO of Valley Grande Institute, is pictured above with Dr. Garcia and Dr. Gama Garcia.

Here, below, is a video interview with Jonathan Stevens about the upcoming gala. Stevens is senior managing director of Teach For America Rio Grande Valley. 


Editor’s Note: Click here to watch a recent interview with Jonathan Stevens about the work Teach For America does in the Rio Grande Valley.

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