Posted: 10/12/23

TAMIU Hosts Over 100 LISD 8th Grade Students Participating in Future Educators of Laredo Seminar


Dr. Lourdes Viloria  

Over one hundred 8th grade students from Laredo Independent School District (LISD) interested in pursuing a career in teaching will participate in a special seminar introducing them to the world of educators thanks to an innovative partnership between Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and LISD.

Sponsored by a Charles Butt Foundation grant and supported by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the "Future Educators of Laredo: Tomorrow Starts Today" Seminar will be this Friday, Oct. 20 from 9:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at TAMIU's Student Center Ballroom.

At the Seminar, offered for the second year in a row as an innovative way to address the current teacher shortage in the state, students from Cigarroa, Christen, Memorial, and Lamar Middle School will learn how they can pursue a Career & Technical, Education (CTE) Future Teacher Pathway through networking opportunities, a panel discussion and various activities.

Participants will interact with TAMIU College of Education faculty, TAMIU student representatives of the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE), and TAFE student representatives from J.W. Nixon High School and the Hector García Early College High School at the Seminar.

Speaking to students will be Dr. Christian Faltis, TAMIU professor and Chair of Educational Programs, Rogelio García, LISD executive director of College, Career and Military Readiness, Advanced Academics and Schools of Innovation, Cindy Domínguez, LISD director for Guidance and Counseling, and Mayra García, LISD College, Career and Military Readiness Coordinator (CCMR).

TAMIU College of Education Dean Dr. James O'Meara, who is also leads the Charles Butt Foundation Grant in the TAMIU College of Education, said the event provides a distinctive opportunity for students to learn about the teaching profession.

"We understand the future teacher pathway is full of barriers that can stop our first-generation teachers from following their passion," Dr. O'Meara said, "The Tomorrow Starts Today initiative creates a space for aspiring first-generation to connect with current TAMIU teacher candidates to learn how to avoid these barriers and maximize the opportunities the College of Education provides to ensure we achieve access, success, and mobility for all our future teachers."

Dr. Lourdes Viloria, TAMIU associate professor of Educational Administration and Co-lead for the Grant, said the Seminar will offer students hands-on activities demonstrating what TAMIU students in its teacher education program are learning about education as a career.

"This event is an innovative way to increase interest and awareness amongst LISD 8th grade students to pursue a CTE future teacher pathway and to increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession as early as possible," she  said, "We are excited to be able to offer students an opportunity to explore the teaching field and network with TAMIU College of Education faculty, TAMIU student representatives of TAFE, their peers and students in the pre-education program  from Garcia Early College High School and Nixon High School."

Dominguez said LISD's goal is to develop a student who becomes a successful teacher.

"At Laredo ISD, we believe in the Grow Your Own concept," she said, "Our goal is to develop a successful student who then becomes a successful, engaging teacher, who in turn develops more successful students. Who better understand our population than those that sat in our classrooms and walked our hallways."

Other activities include a reading of the book, "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun" by Bella Esquenazi, TAMIU TAFE vice president, a look at CTE Career Pathways, and a presentation titled "STEM Discrepant Events: Inspiring Integration of Literacy through Picture Books," led by Dr. Puneet Gill, TAMIU associate professor of Educational Programs, and Dr. Filiz Shine, TAMIU associate professor of Educational Programs.

For more information, please contact Dr. Viloria at TAMIU at 956.326.4915, email maria.viloria@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Anthony J. and Georgia A. Pellegrino Hall, room 304C.

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