Jose Cerda: Successes and Benefits

My name is Jose Cerda. I’m the Executive Director for Secondary Education for the Laredo Independent School District. This is my 32nd year with our school district. I have been a teacher, assistant principal, principal at both the high school and middle school levels, and a fine arts school director. I oversee the middle schools and high schools, ensuring the implementation of our curriculum, making sure we are on track to prepare our students for post-secondary education by passing their end-of-course exams and pursuing their desired career paths.


One of our goals is to guide students interested in becoming teachers through our counseling and guidance department. We collaborate closely with our CCMR department to provide opportunities for our students and ensure we have the adequate personnel or make the necessary requests to support our projects.


As the Early College High School principal at Garcia College, situated on the university grounds, we provided opportunities for our students to choose a career path. Our counselors and teachers guided them, informing them about the courses they needed, whether they planned to stay at the local university or transfer out. We emphasized finding a content area or specialization so that when they graduated, they were ready to enter the workforce as teachers.

Some positions, like Spanish teachers, are more challenging to find due to high competition. However, specializing in math, sciences, or history increases job opportunities. Working with 15-16-year-olds and guiding them to become teachers, it was gratifying to see some of them teaching in our high schools and middle schools at 20 years old.


Our counselors did a great job streamlining the process and removing obstacles for students pursuing teaching careers. We emphasized the importance of overcoming financial challenges and improving content knowledge to become excellent teachers.


We believe in growing our own teachers and ensuring students see themselves in the teaching population. By streamlining our process and identifying university support, we create pathways for students interested in teaching, starting with awareness and involving families. Many of our students are first-generation college goers, and we want to provide them with opportunities to succeed.


Our partnership with the local university, TAMIU, has been crucial. Dr. O’Meara, a proponent of public education, opened many doors for our district. We focus on guiding students in their upper grades in middle school (8th grade) and high school. Dual credit courses and tutoring experiences help students commit to teaching or explore other opportunities.


Through our CCMR department, we offer opportunities for students to become certified teacher aides while completing their college work. This allows them to finance their personal expenses and reduces financial constraints, helping more students finish college. The district and the university have a great partnership and collaboration in preparing our students to become teachers.

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