Muskegon Heights Public School Academy principal reflects on achievements and looks forward to new challenge
The Michigan Department of Education has selected RanÃ© Garcia as its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Michigan – A western Michigan school principal has been selected as the Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) first director of diversity, equity and inclusion. The announcement by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice was made last week.
RanÃ© Garcia, currently superintendent of the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System, will be stepping down after four years and starting her new role in the state on August 23.
âWe continue our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with this new position at the Michigan Department of Education,â said Dr. Rice. âRanÃ© Garcia brings his personal and professional experience to help strengthen our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion, both within the department and within the state. We are very happy that she is joining our team.
Garcia spent a year as Deputy Superintendent of the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System before being appointed Superintendent. Her 31-year career in public education includes experience as a teacher, principal and district administrator.
As Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Garcia will be responsible for developing and supporting internal and external efforts and strategies that promote greater equity and inclusion in public schools across the state.
Garcia says her 31 years as an educator and five years in Muskegon Heights have prepared her to work with 894 districts and the Michigan Department of Education on behalf of all students. She is a first generation student majoring in mathematics at the University of Michigan, who has held positions in Michigan, Texas, and Illinois.
As a principal, she led her school to a National Blue Ribbon Award by closing the achievement gaps. As a superintendent, she worked to strengthen her school district by improving student outcomes, partnering with higher education, dramatically improving teacher retention rates, and stabilizing enrollment.
“I feel like I leave part of my heart in Muskegon Heights; however, I’ve been told ‘once a tiger, always a tiger’ and in that I find solace,” Garcia wrote in a letter. to members of the community and to the MHPSAS members of the board of directors. âI will never be too far to defend Muskegon Heights. This decision is important because to achieve true fairness, work must be done in all contexts. I have learned from you and have been inspired by you. am ready, being a Tiger has helped me discover my voice, and for that I will be eternally grateful. “
The MHPSAS board will interview an internal candidate for the superintendent position on Tuesday, starting at 5:30 pm Community members and school stakeholders can view the interview using a link on mhtigers. org.
âIt’s exciting for me to be able to learn more about our entire state and the education system,â Garcia said. “We know our black and brown communities and schools have fewer opportunities, there is uneven funding, there are big fixes that need to be made.”
Under Garcia’s leadership, the district’s long-closed swimming pool has reopened and a school that did not have a playground when it started with the academy now has a playground and play equipment for students.
âOur children must have the same opportunities,â Garcia said.
According to Garcia, teacher turnover has been reduced from 50% to just 5%.
âWe’ve had a lot of success with that,â Garcia said. “I’m super proud of this.”
Enrollment at MHPSAS increased by 14% to reach 683 students.
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