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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Herlinda García

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(93 pages)

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Herlinda García was born Herlinda Adame and raised in Laredo, Texas. She attended Laredo Junior College and went on to earn her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a Master's degree from the University of Houston. She began her teaching career in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and pioneered bilingual education in Houston, where she served as a bilingual education director. She married Arturo Garcia in 1968. At the time of the interview, Ms. Garcí´a was chairman of the board of trustees for the Houston Community College System (HCCS), principal of an elementary school in the HISD, and member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the Latino Trustees for Community Colleges.

Interview Summary:

The interview begins with Herlinda Garcia providing background on the Adame family in Laredo and her heavy involvement in extracurricular activities throughout her student years. She tells how, after receiving a leadership award at Laredo Junior College, she pursued her studies in elementary education at the University of Houston. She describes her work as a teacher for the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and her return to the University of Houston to become a master teacher. She discusses the bilingual curriculum she created to improve teaching methods in schools with predominately Mexican-American students who primarily spoke Spanish. She elaborates upon the bilingual certification system in which she participated before it became a University-level function. Ms. Herlinda Garcia discusses her confrontation of the issues of unfairness seemingly based on her ethnicity and the politics of her era and what it took to break through such barriers and reach her goals. She recalls the development of her political interests, her first campaign participation in the 1970s, and her organization of Olga Gallegos' successful campaign in 1987. She talks about working with Ramsey Muñiz and José 'Chito' Vela, two Raza Unida Party candidates from Laredo, and mentions her association with Román Martínez and Ben T. Reyes. She also highlights the 1983 visit to her elementary school by Jesse Jackson during his presidential campaign. Garcia discusses her decision to run for election as a Houston Community College System board trustee following her appointment to the board by Olga Gallegos. She further discusses her work and accomplishments on the board and her efforts to unify the board across racial lines. She talks about the hiring and resignation of Charles Green, and the subsequent hiring of Ruth Burgos Sasscer as Chancellor of HCCS. She underscores the college's important role in producing the future workforce of Houston and working with the Greater Houston Partnership, a major force in Houston's global role in the business community. The interview finishes with her comments on the lessons she has learned as a Mexican-American woman.

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