Pictured left to right: Dr. Rolinda Park, RTI Specialist; Cynthia Hernandez, Social Worker; Mary Elizondo, Licensed Specialist in School Psychology; Diana Sanchez, Social Worker; Darcia Cuellar, Director
My name is Darcia Cuellar; it is a privilege to be serving as the School Climate Transformation Grant Director for Vanguard Academy. I earned my Bachelors of Arts in Social Studies Composite and Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. I began my teaching profession at Pharr-San Juan- Alamo ISD as a high school and middle school teacher for 8 years. My educational administration experience includes 3 years as a Middle School Assistant Principal, 3 years as an Early College High School Director, 3 years as Principal at a Special Purpose campus for high school dropout and recovery, and 2 years as principal of an alternative campus for at-risk students.
I Believe . . . that it is the obligation and ethical expectation of adults in an education setting to serve as advocates and role models to all students. As educators, we have an even greater responsibility to provide at-risk and struggling students with additional emotional, social and academic support to ensure they become successful and productive citizens of our community. It is my privilege to serve as an influence and voice for at-risk students to our district staff, teachers, and parents as we bring awareness of evidenced-based strategies of adult behaviors, classroom protocols, and positive-behavior interventions that will drive desired student behaviors.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom” Matthew 19:14.
My name is Rolinda Park, RtI Specialist at Vanguard Academy; I earned a Doctorate in Education in 2012, a Master’s in Education in 2000 from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley and a Bachelors in Business Administration in 1990. My doctoral dissertation was “Remediation in Mathematics: A Factor In The Retention of Entering Freshmen at a Hispanic Serving Institution.” My educational experience entails 15 years as a classroom teacher in both secondary and elementary; 2 years as an Elementary and Secondary Coordinator in Math and Science and 15 years as an administrator at a Public University.
I Believe . . . all children are unique and are capable of growing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially through a stimulating and rigorous educational environment. I am a believer that all students are eager to learn and would grow in an inviting and welcoming educational setting. Through my dissertation I learned of the dire need to ensure an equitable and engaging education for all students at every level.
My name is Maria L. Elizondo. With great pleasure, I introduce myself to parents, students, community, and staff members. I am a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) at Vanguard Academy. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and my Master of Arts in School Psychology from the University of Texas Pan-American. I served as a teacher for 3 years and as an LSSP for 7 years before joining the Vanguard family. My experience as an LSSP involves providing psychological/counseling services for students with emotional and behavioral problems, consulting with school staff, administrators, and parents for educational planning/programming, and assisting in the development of academic and behavioral plans for students.
I Believe . . . that all students deserve a safe learning environment where they can gain the appropriate social emotional and academic skills to succeed in life. I commit to provide children “A Purpose in Life and A Reason for Learning” in a safe and friendly environment.
My name is Cynthia Hernandez, Social Worker at Vanguard Academy; I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas Pan American. I have been a licensed Social Worker since 2003, received my Behavior Strategist Certificate from Region One, am certified with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was a trainer for School Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI). My professional experience includes working as a Social Worker and Case Manager at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, UTRGV Residency Program, Joslin Diabetes Center, Colonial Manor Nursing Home, McAllen Nursing Home, and Edinburg Consolidated School District – Elementary. I also served as Director of Social Services for Only Love Pediatric Hospice, Amara Adult Hospice and South Texas Health Steps.
I Believe . . . I can assist school age students and families with social, emotional and academic problems that impede their ability to learn, advance in school or psychosocial development. The Social Worker function is part of the pupil services team to formulate plans with school staff, students and parents. The SCTG Team will include individual and group counseling, enhance social development, and offer appropriate resources when needed.
My name is Diana Sanchez; I am a Licensed Master Social Worker at Vanguard Academy. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences with a major in Family and Child Development from Texas State University and my Master of Social Work from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I have been a Social Worker since 2015, spending 3 years working as a School Social Worker in New Braunfels and 2 years as a Medical Social Worker at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen before joining the Vanguard family. Before I became a Social Worker, I worked in student support services in higher education at various colleges and universities.
I Believe . . . it is the responsibility and privilege of schools to provide support to enhance all areas of students’ lives, including mental health and life and career skills. I come to Vanguard every day to provide support in the best way I can and am always willing to help.