During a Special presentation at the May 15 Homestead City Council meeting, Councilman Elvis R. Maldonado recognized and honored retiring Miami-Dade County Public Schools Director of Migrant Education Cipriano Garza, for his outstanding and dedicated service to the Homestead community as well as the United States of America.
“Cipriano Garza has dedicated his life to assisting and supporting the migrant worker community and struggling Hispanic American families. His tireless work has made it possible for the children of Hispanic American families to receive the education they deserve and more children have graduated and gone off to college because of him,” said Councilman Maldonado, Liaison to the Homestead Education Committee. “He makes me proud to be a Hispanic-American, and I am honored to recognize him today for all he has accomplished for the Hispanic community here in Homestead and throughout the country.”
Cipriano Garza was born in Texas to a family of Mexican-American migrant farm workers. He spent his childhood working in farms across the United States, which gave him a personal perspective on Mexican/Chicano farm worker issues. Since 1975, Mr. Garza has served as the Director of the Migrant Education Program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and is retiring this year. In this position, he has been influential in creating innovative educational programs for the children of migrant farm workers. Mr. Garza is a graduate of South Dade High School where he was a State Champion in track. He attended The University of Miami on an athletic Scholarship and received his Bachelors of Arts in Politics and Public Affairs. He then attended Nova University where he received a Master of Science degree in Public Administration. His numerous awards include Phi Delta Kappa Man of the Year, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award. Chosen as the 1989 Hispanic Family of the year, President George H. W. Bush invited Mr. Garza and his family to the White House.
Between September 1993 and September 1996, he worked for the U.S. Department and Urban Development as special assistant to Secretary Cisneros. In May of 2000, Former Mayor of Miami-Dade County Alex Penelas proclaimed May 11, 2000 as “Cipriano Garza Day” in recognition of 20 years of service to migrant farm workers. In 1999, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relation Rosario Green presented him with the OHTLI Award, and in 2001, Mr. Garza received the NASDME National School Administrator of the Year Award. Mr. Garza founded and is the president of the Mexican-American Council of Florida, which promotes educational advancement and cultural awareness for Latinos improved farmer/farm worker relationships. He is also the founder and first Chairman for the Everglades Community Association, a nonprofit agency that provides housing for over 3,500 migrant farm workers.
Mr. Garza and his wife Maria, who also has been active in migrant farm worker issues, reside in Homestead, Florida with their three sons: Eddie, Cipriano III, and Alex. The entire Garza family participates in a variety of community and church activities.