Mrs. Julie Garza is a music teacher at Ramirez Elementary with Edinburg CISD. She has been teaching with ECISD for 22 years but began her career right out of college where she started in her hometown district of Richardson ISD near Dallas. Garza met her husband in college at East Texas State University where they were both music majors and after dating and falling in love, they married and moved down to the southern most part of the state to the RGV where Garza’s husband is originally from.

“I’d always heard from my vocal and choral directors in college that Edinburg was the place to be if you wanted to teach in the fine arts department.”

 

That is how she began her career with ECISD and has been happily educating our youth since. “I wanted to be a performer. I wanted to be Julie Andrews and run through the mountains singing. But then my father said, I’m not paying for your education unless it’s in music education.”
Garza was recently selected by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) as one of three finalists to be considered as Teacher of the Year in the state. Out of twenty elementary Texas teacher of the year candidates and of the 135,000 teachers in the state, Garza distinctively stood out of the crowd with her eye-catching application where she was able to verbalize just how much she loves music and the importance of a music education. The passion and knowledge she carries down to her students was shown in the rigorous application. “I feel very honored and very proud of my school, my family and extremely excited to represent fine arts,” said Garza.

The state application for teacher of the year looks for teachers who are caring, loving with their students, knowledgeable, and innovative most importantly. They award those who have an infinite and true love of being in the classroom. Garza accredits her selection as a finalist to being consistent, organized, and having many years of experience in education. “My years of experience have taught me the value of teaching what’s important to kids. I feel like they need to be very well rounded and have social skills. Of course, they should have reading, writing, and math skills as a priority, but I feel like music education teaches kids social skills, self-discipline and an appreciation of something that is beautiful and aesthetic.”
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Garza is a vocalist by nature. She and her sisters would sing as a trio in high school, known as the “Thomas Girls.” They also sang a lot at church as a group. Music has run through Garza’s heart since a young age.
Music and arts can be challenging subjects to teach to such young children but Garza feels that the combination of patience and learning how to break things down make things easy to understand for young students learning a new skill such as playing an instrument.
She believes in making her students comfortable enough to make mistakes and to fail, so they learn from their own experiences with music. Her strategy to great classroom management is planning ahead and always being prepared. Garza is a seasoned veteran in the fine arts department but she says it wasn’t always smooth sailing.



 

“My first year was very challenging. As a new teacher, I made many many mistakes.” One experience she remembers vividly is the very first talent show she produced at Travis Elementary, which she described as a “total disaster.” I put all of the music on a cassette tape and discovered that there were different versions to many Selena songs and I’d put the wrong versions on my tape and didn’t have a back up. So yes, I’ve learned that you should have a backup plan and yes, you’re going to make mistakes but you’ll learn from them.”

Edinburg CISD is awaiting the decision of finalist, however, they remain proud of Garza for getting this far and are proud of all her hard work and success with their district.