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March 2023 - Jessica Garza

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents


March 2023

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight. Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO-ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Jessica Garza, Principal of Jefferson Jr./Senior High School in Jeffco Public Schools.

Jessica shares her professional career and current bio below. You can read the diverse experiences that have led to her various leadership roles. One of our shining stars!

Career Highlights & Education

Jessica is the proud principal of Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School in Edgewater, Colorado. After moving to Colorado from Texas in 2015, Jessica began her administrative career with Jeffco Public Schools as Assistant Principal at Carmody Middle School. She went on to serve as Curriculum & Instruction AP at Arvada West and Principal of Rose Stein Elementary.

Jessica’s career in education started in 2007 with Writers in the Schools, Houston, a non-profit that engages young learners in the power of creative writing. Over the last fifteen years, Jessica has served as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, non-profit director, and principal in PK-12 settings. A first-generation college graduate and bilingual Chicana, Jessica proudly brings the vision and voice of underrepresented communities into her leadership.

Jessica earned her M. Ed. in School Counseling from The University of St. Thomas, Houston, and her B.A. in English from The University of Houston. Her career focus has been on the intersection of literacy, social-emotional well-being, and equity. Jessica has brought to her schools innovative student programming such as Latinos in Action, robust cross functional mental health teams, Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI), Upstream Education SEL Curriculum, hands-on career pathway learning, culturally relevant curriculum, and a laser focus on data informed decision making.

What is exciting about my job? What excites me the most about my work is seeing students and educators grow into leaders. Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School had the top three middle school student Orgullo de ser Bilingue essay contest winners. Seeing our students gain the confidence to write for an audience, present in front of hundreds of folks, and find their voice is priceless. That is the true definition of authentic learning, leadership development, and language equity.

Words from a consejero/a. “The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.” Sonia Sotomayor

“Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions, and you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted” Colin Powell

“In any situation in life, you have three options. You always have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.” Naval Ravikant Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader: Students' time in school is our locus of control. Ask yourself what your team can do to improve the quality of day to day teaching and learning. Strengthen the core.

Spend time guest teaching in classrooms to earn staff respect and a lens of the daily operations of schools.

Learn about the power of “Yes, and..”

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . . You’ll catch me with my loveable 10 year old boxer dog exploring the outdoors in Colorado and Montana. How does CO-ALAS add value? Participating in the 2021/2022 cohort of the Four Corners Latinx Leadership Academy was such an enriching experience. By joining CO-ALAS, I gained both a professional network and new friend group that I can lean on to celebrate the wins and problem solve through inevitable leadership challenges. CO-ALAS also broadened partnerships that have helped me support students and educators.


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