Dean Garcia named outstanding educator

Cervantes-Award---Garcia-Lawrence-Castillo

Delia C. Garcia, dean of the College of Education, was honored recently for her service and dedication to the field of education, and specifically, the education of Hispanic students.

Garcia was among several educators, principals and Miami-Dade County Public Schools administrators in the county honored with the 2015 Cervantes Outstanding Educator Award, presented by Nova Southeastern University’s College of Education.

“As a life-long educator, I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Garcia said. “During my time as dean of the College of Education, we have awarded thousands of degrees to Hispanics students and have secured financial support to facilitate their accessing higher educational opportunities.

“Our graduates make substantial contributions to their schools and work diligently to prepare and lead the next generation of students,” Garcia added. “As educators, we must remain committed to impacting the lives of our students in meaningful ways and advancing the preparation of Hispanics in our nation. I am honored to be in such good company with the other recipients.”

Garcia was lauded for implementing the Creating Latino Access to a Valuable Education (CLAVE) grant at FIU.

Since its founding in 2009, CLAVE sought to increase graduate school opportunities for Hispanic teachers and administrators pursuing masters and doctoral degrees.

To date, one cohort of four students pursued a doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision, and three cohorts totaling 34 students pursued a master’s degree in Urban Education.

The grant also issued 50 travel awards so students and faculty could present manuscripts at professional conferences.

For three consecutive years, CLAVE was named an Examples of Excelencia national finalist by Excelencia in Education, a non-profit organization that ranks educational programs based on their effectiveness in creating opportunities for Hispanic and Latino students to pursue higher education.

National Outlook in Education Magazine has also ranked the college No. 2 in the nation among colleges of education in awarding degrees to Hispanic students.

“Dean Garcia is deserving of this recognition for her remarkable track record of creating opportunities for Hispanic students, helping them to thrive and excel in the field of education and beyond,” said Miami-Dade County Public School Board Member Susie V. Castillo, who nominated Garcia for the award.

About 35 percent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools teachers are FIU graduates, and during Garcia’s tenure as dean of the College of Education, four of the previous five Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teachers of the Year have been FIU graduates. Alexandre Lopes was even named Florida’s Teacher of the Year in 2013 while he pursued a doctoral degree in education.

Garcia is the second person from FIU’s College of Education to receive the award from NSU in as many years. Elena Capablanca, an art education student, was among the recipients of the 2014 Cervantes Award.