Thomas Garcia for State Board of Education
The Choice For Change
I grew up in Pharr, Texas in a single-parent household.
Through many financial hardships, my mother worked hard to provide for me. No matter how poor we were, my mother always instilled in me the importance of education so I could be the first in my family to obtain a bachelor’s degree. I worked hard for her, and I got into Princeton University on a full-ride financial aid package.
I didn't want to wait to pay it forward. At age 19, I founded a college access program at PSJA ISD. Every summer during college, I returned to Pharr to teach lessons on writing, financial aid, and leadership development. My first job after college was teaching these lessons as a course for 9th-12th students at PSJA ISD.
Now, my program is a nonprofit organization teaching hundreds of students at local high schools. I am the only candidate in the race still teaching in the classroom, and the only candidate who taught throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
I will serve Texas State Board of Education, District 2 as a public servant. The SBOE sets curriculum standards, determining what over 5 million students in our state learn. It reviews and adopts instructional materials like textbooks, establishes graduation requirements, and oversees the Texas Permanent School Fund.
I write nonfiction, fiction, and poetry on the U.S.-Mexico border and Mexican-American history. My co-authored children's picture book encourages students to practice public speaking. My fiction has won awards from UTRGV, Princeton University, and UCLA.
I have transformed my writing and college admissions curricula into a nonprofit organization, where I continue to teach lessons, design curricula, and mentor students while overseeing and expanding our programming. Our lessons are based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
I have 7 years of teaching and curriculum development experience. I have taught children, teenagers, college students, and parents through numerous educational opportunities. In 2016, I designed and taught PSJA ISD's "University Scholars Enrichment Course" as a first-year teacher, focusing on writing, college admissions, and service learning.
I produce research projects on undertold histories of South Texas, such as erecting a historical marker on the 1971 Pharr Riot. I have also co-written a historical memoir with a co-founder of the first accredited Chicano college.
I am a PhD candidate in English.