Former El Monte Student Becomes Superintendent
by Jo Anne Disney
March 13, 2013 • 959 views
As you enter the building of the El Monte City School District, the first thing visitors see is a plaque with their Mission Statement which reads: “Our purpose is to educate all students to develop skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be responsible, productive, and fulfilled individuals able to succeed ethically in a democratic society.” After interviewing the new superintendent for the El Monte City School District, Dr. Maribel Garcia, I believe that the district has chosen such a leader to continue this journey.
When Dr. Garcia first came on board, she decided to begin with a “100 Day Entry Plan,” which involves listening and learning. She told me that one of her greatest strengths is the fact that she is a “life-long learner,” which she feels will benefit the district and the community. In addition, Dr. Garcia shared that one of her core values is optimism; she always tries to see the good in every situation.
The daughter of immigrants, Dr. Garcia was raised in El Monte on Lexington at 3440, just one block from the district at 3540 Lexington. She laughed as she recalled visiting the district frequently as a child, because their mail was always being delivered to her home in error. Her mom would have her walk to the district to return their mail. When Dr. Garcia looks back on that time in her life, she said she always has felt a connection with the district and now she knows why. She attended El Monte Schools and said she was continually nurtured by her teachers, and her dreams were always encouraged. Dr. Garcia attended UCLA and has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. She brings 15 years of experience to her new position.
I asked Dr. Garcia if she missed the classroom and she answered with a resounding, “yes.” She told me she will “forever be a teacher” and “forever think like a teacher.” During these challenging economic times, Dr. Garcia said the district still continues to do the same with much less.
What is her vision for the El Monte City School District? Dr. Garcia wants to create systems with the best learning environments, forming a pipeline to college at all of their schools. She said she wants “the best education for all of our students.” She shared a quote from Cesar Chavez that has become part of her mantra, “We don’t need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation.” Dr. Garcia believes that perfect participation contributes to solutions and when every person participates, then they are always part of the solution.
Dr. Garcia still resides in El Monte. Her dedication to students and the city of El Monte is genuinely heartwarming. I believe that her love and passion for the community, coupled with her dedication to students and education, will make her an overwhelming success.