Aldine ISD Trustee Dr. Viola M. Garcia assumed the office of President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) on Saturday, April 10, during NSBA’s Annual Conference via a virtual ceremony.
Dr. Garcia is the longest tenured Aldine Trustee, having served on the Board since her appointment to the Position 7 seat in 1992 and her election in January 1993. She has held all four board offices and has chaired numerous committees.
Dr. Garcia previously served as NSBA’s Secretary-Treasurer, PresidentElect and on the NSBA Board of Directors representing the Southern Region, before becoming the organization’s President.
Dr. Garcia said she is looking forward to serving as the head of a body that does so much good work for children.
“I ask for guidance for this gathering of school board members, administrators, staff, service providers and partners,” she said in her remarks after her swearing in ceremony. “I think you for the good work you are doing and how well your students are doing, what you have accomplished this academic year, and how we are all working together to serve the students of this great nation.
“With the support of an exceptional board of directors and guidance from our new transformational leader, Anna Maria Chavez, NSBA embarked on a transformation that led us to refocus who we are and what we do, to better serve you, our members, the state associations, and ultimately our primary beneficiaries, the students of this great nation.”
She added she is thankful for the support she has received from her family, from around the nation and from her Aldine family.
“I am honored to serve as you new NSBA President, and I know that the Board of Directors, Officers, Executive Director/ CEAO, and the NSBA staff are committed and ready to serve the state associations, our members and ultimately, the students of this magnificent nation to the best of our abilities.
“I want to thank my family, my husband, Jorge, daughters Erica, Leila and Monica and their husbands and families for the love and support they’ve provided not only this year, but during all of my years of service on my local school board in Aldine ISD and on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) as well as my service on the National Schools Board Association.”
All three of Dr. Garcia’s daughters graduated from Eisenhower High School and she praised her fellow Aldine Trustees, Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and her administration team for their support over the years.
“I want to sincerely acknowledge my local school board members, superintendent, administrators, teachers, staff and community for being there for Aldine students every single day,” she said. “To my TASB family, you are the wind beneath my wings. Your incredible work ethic, dedication to Texas school board members, your attention to detail and a constant eye on the horizon for new and innovative ways to expand products and services is appreciated, anticipated and expected. I especially want to acknowledge TASB Executive Director, Jim Crow, for being the ultimate leader of leaders.”
As school districts across the country have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Garcia believes public education has a bright future.
“I ask God’s continued guidance to direct our discussions here, at our state associations and at home so that the decisions we make this coming year provide a promising future for our students,” she said. “As we build the foundation to create such a future, may our work on our local boards advocate for all students, for adequate and equitable public school funding, for reasoned measures of accountability, and for initiatives that develop and support the teachers, administrators and those who give their lives to educate our students.”
Dr. Garcia said NSBA’s focus must remain on students.
“We must support our young people to stretch beyond their highest dreams to maintain a curiosity for learning, to pursue professional and service opportunities in their field, and to prepare so that when the opportunity to ‘step up’ presents itself, they will be ready. We must also be ready, and continue to develop mindsets that see problems as opportunities and challenges to be solved, not as threats that require on old deficit models, old thinking, yesterday’s dreams and least of all, cause to retreat. Together, as a federation, we can bring our united and collective voices to the forefront. Together, we can and will make a difference with hard work in pursuit of opportunities that today’s challenges provide.”
During her 29 years of service as an Aldine Trustee, the Board has received numerous accolades including being named the Region 4 Outstanding School Board, the Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the Quality Texas Foundation, the Magna Award from the American School Board Journal and Outstanding School Board Award from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).
Dr. Garcia is a retired faculty member of the University of Houston-Downtown, where she chaired numerous committees. She has provided her expertise on a wide variety of topics ranging from academic policy to leadership.
She is also active in many organizations. Dr. Garcia is a member of Kappa Delta Pi-Omega, TASB, where she served as that group’s president, the Mexican American School Board Members Association, where she has served as that group’s president, she is a life member of PTA, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
NSBA is the umbrella organization for more than 90,000 school board members throughout the United States. The organization advocates for school board interests before Congress, federal government agencies and the courts, in addition to providing information and services to state school boards associations.