Show Date: March 20th, 2019
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Central Catholic High School
Paul Garro is the President of Central Catholic High School. Central Catholic is the first boys’ school in San Antonio founded in downtown San Antonio by teaching Brothers of the Society of Mary (Marianists) on March 25, 1852. Central Catholic recently earned the distinction of being a Center of Excellence in Educating Boys as designated by the Gurian Institute. Families enrolled at Central Catholic come from 75 zip codes and 38 different Catholic, private and public middle schools in San Antonio and surrounding areas. Graduates include doctors, teachers, clergy, businessmen, lawyers, military and political leaders.
Mr. Garro has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s degree in Education from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.
Mr. Garro’s 20+ years of experience as an educator include being a classroom English teacher, a high school principal, a teacher and administrator of multi-handicapped/medically fragile students and the Director for School Improvement (PreK-12) at North East Independent School District.
Prior to the position at Central Catholic, Mr. Garro was the executive director of City Year San Antonio where City Year AmeriCorps members addressed critical community needs, particularly in schools, through citizen service, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship.
Garro’s current memberships and volunteer commitments include: San Antonio Rotary; San Antonio Area Foundation’s initiative to positively impact High School Completion, Catholic Charities Board of Directors, membership in the Hispanic, Northside and Greater Chambers of Commerce.
As an educator, Garro earned the honor of classroom “teacher of the year” three times including the distinguished district “teacher of the year” from Northside Independent School District. He has been a national consultant for “Teaching The Hard to Reach” and authored the first of a series of books entitled “Classrooms of Inspiration.” Garro helped pioneer the magnet school Communications Arts HS and Sunset HS in Northside ISD. A highlight during this period was traveling to Finland to help forge meaningful educational services to students with special needs.
Garro was deeply formed by his experience in East St. Louis, Illinois and in Appalachia region of Eastern Kentucky. East St. Louis is a city described by Jonathan Kozol in the book Savage Inequalities as a city so poor and devastated that it has had to lay off 84% of its city work force and cannot afford regular garbage pick-up. It is a city where raw sewage regularly backs up into the homes of its residents and into yards where children play; and where nearby chemical plants pollute the air and soil with lead, arsenic and mercury. It is a city so rundown that burned-out buildings are a common sight and that some of its major thoroughfares resemble ghost towns. It has been described as America’s Soweto. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Appalachian county where Garro served has the lowest median household income in the United States – a staggering 41.5 per cent of residents falling below the poverty line. The U.S. Census Bureau considers low income roughly $45,000 a year for a family of four. In Owsley, the median household income is $19,351 – the lowest in the country outside of Puerto Rico.
Mr. Garro’s creative educational ideas, and his passion for service-learning gained him invitations to participate in the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Oxford Roundtable (an international forum to promote quality education) and Trinity University’s Principals’ Center (a learning community designed to develop principals’ leadership capacities).
Working to achieve sustainable impact in San Antonio, Garro played a role in numerous initiatives aiming to implement the Collective Impact model in San Antonio. The model is based on a shared vision, common agenda, shared measurements, continuous communication, mutually reinforcing activities, and a backbone agency. Those collective impact initiatives include: ‘Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio’ impacting children in the Out-of-School Time; San Antonio College Access Network working to increase student access and success in post-secondary education; and Promise Neighborhoods building a complete continuum of cradle-to-career solutions in under served neighborhoods.