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Schools as the Gateway into American Life

Dr. Juliet Garcia, former President of the University of Texas at Brownsville, and Anne Wicks, the Ann Kimball Johnson Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute, discuss the strategies and resources needed to integrate immigrant students into American life -- and why meeting this goal is fundamental to the stability of America's democracy.

Interview with Dr. Juliet Garcia and Anne Wicks February 23, 2021 //   2 minute read

Dr. Juliet Garcia became the first Mexican-American female to lead an American university when she was chosen to head Texas Southmost College in 1986. The school later merged into what became the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she served as president until 2014. Now a Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of the University of Texas System, Garcia grew up in a family with roots on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. Her exposure to a diverse world worked to her advantage as an education leader, which TIME noted in 2009 when it recognized the South Texan as one of America’s 10 top college presidents.

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Anne Wicks, the Ann Kimball Johnson Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute, leads projects on school leadership and school accountability, as well as the work of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. The Stanford University graduate is a former eighth-grade social studies teacher and former Associate Dean of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, where she earned a MBA. The Minnesotan now serves on the boards of Dallas Afterschool and Education Open Doors.

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The pair spoke with Chris Walsh, Senior Program Manager for the Bush Institute, and William McKenzie, Senior Editorial Advisor at the Bush Institute, about the role that schools from pre-K through college play in integrating immigrant students into American life. They draw upon their experiences in discussing the strategies and resources needed to achieve this goal, starting with expectations that every child can succeed. As they contend, meeting this goal is fundamental to the stability of America’s democracy.