HARLINGEN — Superintendent Art Cavazos will retire at the end of this school year.

He made the announcement at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Cavazos, 55, has worked in public education for more than 30 years, with more than 20 of those with the Harlingen district. His retirement will be effective June 30, 2021.

“I have chosen to re-prioritize my time to focus on my family,” said Cavazos. He and his wife Sharon have two sons.

“I’m proud and humbled to have served as superintendent of HCISD,” he said. “I love this community and know that the staff, children, and parents will continue to be a family to me.”

Since Cavazos took the helm in 2013, the district has experienced robust change.

The Strategic Plan heralded unprecedented changes which included the creation of special academies for students to pursue professional certifications.

The plan also emphasized “authentic” learning experiences and the 4 Cs: collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) also became high priority.

During Cavazos’ tenure, the district built the Harlingen School of Health Professions and the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.

School Board President Eladio Jaimez thanked Cavazos for his many years of service.

“We are grateful for the incredible leadership Dr. Cavazos provided to HCISD,” Jaimez said. “Under his guidance as superintendent, we achieved more in eight years than most do in a lifetime.”

He gave special mention not only to the Strategic Plan but also to Cavazos’ championing the work of the strategic financial plan, which he said “completely changed the landscape of HCISD.

“The Board and I appreciate him for his hard work, his commitment to excellence, and his caring and compassion for the students, staff, and families of our HCISD community,” he said.

A press release from the district referred to Cavazos as a “transformational leader.”

“Student achievement has soared as HCISD staff and campuses have met and exceeded state expectations,” it said.