Dr. Gonzalo Garza

Namesake of Gonzalo Garza Independence High School

  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Texas in Austin

  • Assistant Principal at Ella Barnes Jr. High School (1956-1962)
  • Principal of Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School (1962-1969)
  • Area V Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent (1975-1977)
  • Superintendent of Eagle Pass Independent School District (1977-1979)
  • Superintendent of San Marcos Consolidated School District (1979-1982)
  • Associate Superintendent of Austin Independent School District (1982-1990) 
  • First Recipient of the Dr. Gonzalo Garza Lifetime Achievement Award (2108)

About Dr. Gonzalo Garza

January 10, 1927 - May 17, 2022

Posted online on May 21, 2022
Published in Austin American Statesman

Gonzalo Garza, Ph. D., 95, of Georgetown, Texas, passed away on May 17, 2022. Gonzalo had a unique and rewarding journey and is loved and respected by many.

Gonzalo was born on a farm near New Braunfels, Texas on January 10, 1927, to Carlos and Victoria Garza. He was the 6th of 9 children. As a member of a migrant family, Gonzalo attended many schools in his childhood.

Gonzalo dropped out of school at age 17 to join the Marines in 1944. He served his country with distinction in World War II and Korea, earning the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart in combat. It was on the island of Tinian in the South Pacific where Gonzalo made a decision that would forever change his life. While proudly serving our country, Gonzalo found camaraderie in the trenches. He admired and gravitated to those who had dreams of coming home and pursuing education. Gonzalo vowed if he came back alive, he too would further his education.

When Gonzalo returned to Texas in 1946, he tried to enroll in school, but was considered too old with not enough credits. He acquired his GED and attended Del Mar Junior College in Corpus Christi. He then enrolled in St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. In December 1951, a year before his graduation, he was recalled to Korea, where he was a member of Dog Company. After distinguished and patriotic service to his country, he returned to Texas in 1952, continued attending St. Mary’s and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He began teaching at Edgewood Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas and enrolled in Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas where he obtained his Master’s Degree in 1954.

Gonzalo moved to Corpus Christi in 1954 and taught at Austin Elementary for 3 years. Gonzalo married Dolores Scott in 1954 and they had 5 children. He became one of the first Hispanic school administrators in Corpus Christi, Texas when he was hired as Assistant Principal at Ella Barnes Jr. High School and served there for 6 years. He was then hired as Principal of Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School and served there with distinction for 6 years. Gonzalo was also the Nueces County Director for Head Start. The family moved to Austin in 1969 so Gonzalo could pursue his Doctorate in Education at the University of Texas, which he received in 1976. While going to school, he worked at Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, an education accreditation agency.

Gonzalo was hired as Area Superintendent in the Houston School District in 1971 and later received several promotions. He was hired as Eagle Pass Independent School District Superintendent in 1977 and served there for 2 years before moving to San Marcos and becoming Superintendent of the San Marcos Consolidated School District. He held that post for 2 years and moved to Austin to become Associate Superintendent in 1981.

After an illustrious career serving the children, parents and teachers of Texas, Gonzalo retired from the Austin Independent School District in 1992. Gonzalo was a member of numerous organizations, including Georgetown Rotary Club, Neighborhood Longhorns and Austin Crime Commission. Gonzalo was an avid Horseshoe player, winning many competitions, including Gold Medal Winner at the Senior Olympics in 2008.

After our beloved Dolores passed, Gonzalo was blessed to have Judy Barnes enter his life in 2007. His life continued to be an incredible journey with Judy by his side. We are eternally grateful for her devotion and love for Gonzalo.

Gonzalo is survived by sons, Charles Lee Garza, Louis Garza (Cindy), Larry Garza, David Garza, daughter, Patsy Mendel (Ed), by grandchildren, Jessica Tornow (Eugene), Valerie Garza, Nathan Garza, Karly Gossett (Daniel), Kacy Janysek (Nick), Kody Garza, Kory Garza, Taylor Melnyk (Stephen), Hunter Mendel, Wynona Garza, Stephen Garza, great-grandchildren, Connor Janysek, Sadie Janysek, Lucy Tornow and Benjamin Gossett, by his brother, Joe Garza and by his partner/companion, Judy Barnes

Consult the Cook-Walden Davis website in Georgetown for Visitation, Rosary and Funeral Services. Serving as active pallbearers is Charles Lee Garza, Louis A. Garza, Patsy D. Mendel, Lawrence G. Garza, David T. Garza, and Ed F. Mendel. Serving as honorary pallbearers is Joe Garza, Kody S. Garza, Hunter C. Mendel, Kory G. Garza, and Nathan T. Garza. Interment will be at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin following the service.