Gonzalo Garza Papers, 1944-
Dr. Gonzalo Garza is a Central Texas educator and former marine. One of nine children, he was born January 10, 1927 in New Braunfels, Texas, to Carlos Garza and Victoria Gonzalez Garza. The son of Mexican American migrant workers, Garza did not begin formal schooling until he was ten years old. At one point, he attended eleven schools in a four years before eventually dropping out of Northside Junior High in Corpus Christi, TX at the age of 17 to join the United States Marine Corps in 1944. He participated in the Japanese campaign before he was honorably discharged in 1946.
Upon his return to the United States, Gonzalo Garza had a new dedication to his education, earned his General Equivalency Diploma, and enrolled in Del Mar Junior College in Corpus Christi. He was two years into a Bachelor of Arts program in Education at St. Mary's University in San Antonio when he was recalled to service in the Marines in 1951 during the Korean War. He earned many honors for his military service, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After another honorable discharge, Garza completed his bachelor's degree and received a Master of Science in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in 1954. At this time, he married Dolores Scott.
Garza then embarked on his career in public education, beginning as an elementary school teacher at Coronado Elementary School and Austin Elementary School before entering into education administration as the Assistant Principal at Ella Barnes Jr. High School in the Corpus Christi Independent School District from 1956-1962. He was the first Mexican American administrator in the CCISD, and went on to serve as Principal of Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School from 1962-1969. He also became the highest-ranking Hispanic administrator in the Houston Independent School District, where he served as Area V Superintendent from 1975-1977 and Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Programs from 1975-1977. During this time, he also pursued doctoral study at the University of Texas at Austin, and received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1976. Garza served as Superintendent of Eagle Pass Independent School District (1977-1979) and San Marcos Consolidated School District (1979-1982) before finishing his career in the Austin Independent School District as an Associate Superintendent (1982-1990) and Interim Superintendent (1990-1991). After controversy over the 1991 AISD school board decision not to hire him as a permanent Superintendent, Garza chose to retire from public education in 1992.
Gonzalo Garza has received multiple awards for his service in public education, particularly his commitment to furthering education for Mexican American youth. In 1999, Gonzalo Garza Independent High School, an innovative high school program meant to tailor to individual students' needs, was named in his honor. He is active in the Georgetown Rotary Club, where he served as District Governor in 1995 and 1996, and has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston and Texas A & M. Reflecting on his journey in education, Garza penned his autobiography, Gonzalo Garza, a Texas Legend: Pasó por aquí in 2005. He and his wife, Dolores, an elementary school teacher, have five children.
The collection consists of the personal papers of educational administrator Gonzalo Garza. It is arranged into six series: Personal and Biographical, Correspondence, Awards and Official Recognition, Educational Service, Military Service, and Audio-Visual Materials.
The first series, Personal and Biographical, includes a bound edition of Garza's autobiography, biographical questionnaires, education certificates, and assorted financial documents.
Correspondence, series two, is comprised of letters to and from Garza. Letters are grouped by subject and ordered chronologically. Included are congratulatory letters from Laura Bush, Ann Richards, and members of congress.
The next series, Awards and Official Recognition, contains official resolutions and certificates recognizing Garza's contributions to education. Also included are proclamations and programs commemorating Garza's retirement from public education.
Educational Service, series four, is arranged into five subseries by school district. Subseries are ordered chronologically by date of Garza's employment in the district. The bulk of the materials in this series are newspaper clippings, newsletters, and articles on Garza's work in the school districts. Some district records and professional correspondence are also included in each subseries, ordered chronologically; material types include programs, calendars, and evaluations.
Series five, Military Service, is comprised of official commendations for service in the marines; most of these documents are facsimiles. The rest of the series is made up of clippings, articles, and photographs highlighting Garza's personal accomplishments in the military. Included is Vol.3 No.1 of Narratives: Stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas and World War II, a publication of the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project, featuring a story on Garza on p.48.
The final series, Audio-Visual Materials, is divided into three subseries by material type. Photographs are grouped according to subject matter. Ten videocassettes document commencement exercises at Garza Independence High School from 1998-2007. The final subseries is a sound recording of a song honoring Garza.
New materials are periodically added to the Garza papers. Until they are integrated into the collection, they can be found in the Additional Material series of records.
Standard copyright restrictions apply.
Cite as: Gonzalo Garza Papers, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.
Box and Folder Inventory