Let’s begin with the 2015-16 school year when I taught fourth grade at Nordstrom Elementary. When I moved to Morgan Hill (from the Central Valley), I expected a technology setup worthy of Silicon Valley status, but I was deeply disappointed when I realized the poor educational environmental conditions. 

Over that year I observed a decentralized district, no curriculum alignment, students not receiving services due, principals that were not supported and missed opportunities. 

Meanwhile, I taught elsewhere and kept tabs on the district happenings, which seemed to be focused on the board of trustees which, at the time, was notorious for infighting. 

In 2018, some board trustee positions were open. I threw my hat in the race and served the board for four years.

On the board, I encountered pushback and outdated cultural beliefs and realized much of the district was running on tradition and what feels good rather than state published curriculum and standards. My problem: How do I get this board to stop infighting and focus on the students, their needs and get the district up to speed? 

One answer was to shift the cultural mindset. Between 2018-2022, I believe the board succeeded in doing just that. 

In 2021, the board began a superintendent search that was diligent, transparent, well-planned, researched and fairly implemented, encompassing all walks of the community including input from the Morgan Hill Teachers Union. From that inclusive process, Dr. Carmen Garcia was voted upon unanimously to represent the district as the new superintendent, culminating a process that took the board months to implement and complete. 

Those, as printed in this media publication, who hint at Garcia’s past, can you with a sure heart, say you are something other than human, not to ever make a mistake or say something misinterpreted? I tell you that Dr. Garcia has learned from a multitude of experiences throughout her educational career, all of which the selection process and school board agreed would make her the strongest candidate.

Since Dr. Garcia has taken the role as MHUSD, she has embraced a sense of urgency to build districtwide coherence and alignment. 

She has relocated her family and become a part of the community. With the board’s direction, she has upgraded the professional development for teachers, district staff and classified alike.  She has organized instructional time, aligned the curriculum and brought dual enrollment to high schools among many other achievements. 

Yes, she has brought change to MHUSD, but change is necessary for improving our standard of learning. It is the district’s job to prepare the next generation for what the future entails. For me, that means a huge difference from the way I grew up and was educated (tradition vs. innovation). 

The courage to change.

Applying the latest educational pedagogy, state, and federal standards, takes change. Change takes time, time needs patience and patience is a change in mindset. We must not mourn our past but rather intentionally cry out for the future of our children. 

Have some faith in those that represented you and selected Dr. Carmen Garcia as the new superintendent to be the face of Morgan Hill Unified School District. And now, at the beginning of her third school year as superintendent she continues to make change because her vision is to “ensure the success of each and every student, every single day.” She is creating an inclusive district environment that will encompass the whole of the Morgan Hill community. 

Join Dr. Carmen Garcia and the MHUSD Board of Education to continue implementing success through change. 

Heather Orosco

Former MHUSD Board of Education Trustee, District 3

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