Super of the Year

HARLINGEN — The Strategic Plan.

The Tax Ratification Election, redesign of the career and technical education department, and the creation of the Harlingen School of Health Professions.

It’s all happened under the watch of Harlingen School Superintendent Art Cavazos. He tips his hat to so many in the district who have participated in these and so many other initiatives.

The Region One Education Service Center, however, is also giving a nod to Cavazos, who has served as superintendent for four years.

Translated, that “nod” refers to Region One’s announcement that Cavazos has been selected as the 2017 Regional Superintendent of the Year.

“We are so excited,” said Annette Garcia, communications officer for Region One.

“There was a committee, and they pointed out his leadership style, his ability to move the district forward, and his connection with the community,” Garcia said.

“They also said he was flexible and they pointed out his willingness to change.”

The Region One Education Service Center is part of a state-wide system of 20 regional education service centers. Region One serves 37 school districts and 10 charter school systems in the seven-county areas of Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

Cavazos said he was both honored and humbled by the distinction.

“I realize that a recognition of that type comes with a lot of responsibility,” he said. “I’m humbled that the committee and the process was one that I was selected to represent the region here in South Texas.”

Cavazos emphasized the first priority of each day is tending to the needs of the district in which almost 19,000 students attend classes.

“You don’t expect these things to happen,” Cavazos said. “We focus on the work, we focus on creating meaningful opportunities for kids. When these recognitions come across, it’s humbling.”

He pointed out the assistance offered him by so many including his family, his “rock.”

“They continue to support me and work alongside me to ensure that I do the very best that I can for the children,” he said.

He referred to numerous partnerships which have enabled the district to succeed, including those with the city to create all-inclusive playgrounds.

“One of the main changes was putting that Strategic Plan that allowed for a common language and a common purpose for our transformation in the school district,” he said.

Cavazos was referring to the “Transforming Learning for Global Achievement” adopted by the Harlingen school board in 2014.

The document, more commonly known as the Strategic Plan, has numerous parts. It emphasizes authentic learning experiences in which classroom learning is combined with real-world applications.

Another key element is called collectively the four Cs: creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration.

The TRE approved two years ago has provided much-needed funds for repairs and upgrades in the district. It allowed for a 10-cent property tax increase for specific projects.

“I’m forever grateful to our board of trustees because they continue to set the vision and the mission of this school district,” Cavazos said. “I’m blessed. We’re blessed.”