EDINBURG – A Career and Technical Education (CTE) counselor from the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District was recently named the 2021 RGV LEAD Counselor of the Year.
Rachel Garza, a counselor at Economedes High School, was honored for her outstanding efforts to ensure that her students are college and career ready.
"I humbly receive this award in the name of all who work behind the scenes and always go unnoticed," Garza said. "We have made great strides in our Career and Technical Education Program to show the importance and significance that it does have alongside academics. They go hand in hand."
Members of the Rio Grande Valley Linking Economic and Academic Development (RGV LEAD) recognized Garza during their regional conference, which was held virtually this year. Garza accepted her award during a small reception with her colleagues that was livestreamed from the school's library.
"We are super excited for Mrs. Rachel Garza. She's an extremely great counselor who always goes above and beyond in all the responsibilities that she has," said Edinburg CISD CTE Director Arminda Lozano. "She truly cares about preparing all of our students to be college and career ready."
Garza was born and raised in Edinburg and graduated from Edinburg High School in 1991. She received her bachelor's degree in Spanish and her master's degree in educational guidance and counseling from the University of Texas-Pan American.
"I tell my students to explore their options in high school and see what it is that they truly love doing. If you love what you do, it will not be work," Garza said. "I enjoy what I do every day."
Garza has worked for Edinburg CISD for over 23 years. She began her career as a Spanish and biology teacher at Edinburg High School. She transferred to Economedes High School when the campus was opened in 2000, continuing as a teacher and eventually becoming the CTE counselor.
"Mrs. Rachel Garza is just amazingly talented," said Economedes High School Principal Jesus Mata. "She is very smart and very dedicated to her students here at Economedes High School."
According to RGV LEAD, the nonprofit organization develops and manages collaborative projects that bring employers and educators together to help students set and achieve college-and-career goals. Together with its partners, it has implemented initiatives that have become a vital part of a regional effort to improve the Valley's educational levels since 1992.
"When you hear Mrs. Rachel Garza's name, you think of hard work and a can-do attitude. Over the years, she has proven to be an exceptional leader amongst her Economedes High School peers," said RGV LEAD Executive Director Luis Rodriguez. "At RGV LEAD, we are beyond words that we get to work with Mrs. Garza among so many other great educators in the Rio Grande Valley. We thank Mrs. Garza for her dedicated work and for continuing our work with Economedes High School."