For Immediate Release
July 17, 2006

Senior Adviser to U.S. Department of Education Secretary to be Guest Speaker at Early Childhood Educators Event 

Brownsville native Norma Garza, who also serves as senior adviser to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, will be the guest speaker at a “Setting the Stage For Children’s Education” orientation on Saturday, July 22 at the ITEC Campus on Mexico Boulevard.  

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m Garza will present the keynote address from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. She served as the coordinator for the Success By 6 for the United Way of Southern Cameron County before being named senior adviser to Secretary Spellings last year. 

Six hundred early childhood educators from Cameron and Willacy counties are expected to attend the event sponsored by UTB/TSC’s Early Childhood Education Professional Development Program. 

The program is funded through a $4.8 million research grant that the School of Education was awarded by the Department of Education in September 2005. It is designed to provide on-going, high-quality, research-based professional development in literacy, numeracy and family involvement to early childhood educators who teach pre-schoolers so that they will be ready for kindergarten. 

At the orientation, early childhood educators will receive information about the importance of their jobs to children, the community and the nation and learn more about the grant program. 

“This event marks the beginning of the professional development phase of the grant, which we believe will have a long-lasting impact on the community,” said Dr. Renee Rubin, interim Principal Investigator of the Department of Education Grant. “Researchers elsewhere have shown that high quality early childhood education has a life-long impact on children. Children are more successful in school and less likely to drop-out.”  

For more information, contact Maria E. Valdes-Corbeil, coordinator for the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program, at (956) 548-8711.