Teacher of the Year Joshua Garcia- inspiring a lineage of teachers and students


Gabi Rodriguez

Chemistry teacher Joshua Garcia is CVHS’ 2020 Teacher of the Year.

If you’ve ever heard spirited cheers wafting down the hallway- or seen cans exploding into a chemical madness on your snapchat story- it probably came from Mr. Garcia’s room. The Pre-AP/AP Chemistry teacher likes to keep his classes well-spirited while transmitting a critical understanding of the complex subject of chemistry to his young learners. Yet when one may not know him from his class, he’s not easy to miss, spreading his spirit in the classroom to the community around him. This has not gone unnoticed.  Four years and one pencil stabbing later, Mr. Joshua Garcia has received the title of Carnegie Vanguard’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Beyond the classroom, Garcia is the sponsor of several clubs, the senior sponsor, and a co-sponsor of the CVHS Track and Field team coaching alongside Ms.Jamie Ford, and offers free after-school tutoring. 

“He’s always been a really good teacher and is always involved in making sure his students know the material, and he’s really helpful. He’s always wondering about not only students, but all the teachers in this school as well,” said sophomore AP Chem student Spencer Nguyen.

Having him as a teacher and having class with him, at least for me, and for a couple of students I know, just really makes their day.”

— Lillian Hurysz, sophomore

After graduating from a magnet high school similar to CVHS, where he ran cross country and track/field, Garcia attended the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) on nearly a full-ride scholarship. Although he had no intention on becoming a teacher, he discovered his knack for it while instructing college labs in UTSA. Garcia continued to pursue teaching, beginning his career at a prison school as part of the area’s parole program.

“I got stabbed once by a kid,” said Garcia, recalling his experience working for the program. “Honestly, working at a parole school wasn’t that bad, it was actually kind of fun. Most of the kids there were trying to behave well because they were trying to stay out of prison.”

Continuing down his path of teaching, Garcia later worked in Spring ISD, where he worked 6 out of 7 days each week, and 12 hours per day.  The workload was incredibly heavy to sustain regularly, and he soon found job opportunity working for CVHS, where he has been teaching for the past 4 years. Working at Carnegie allows him to continue his passion for teaching chemistry, while maintaining a breathable schedule with his life outside the classroom.

“It’s a fantastic school. It’s a great location, the kids are great, the admin is awesome, and my fellow teachers are awesome. And so it was just kind of like a perfect fit,” said Garcia.

Currently, Garcia spends a large portion of his days in the classroom, where he’s responsible for teaching over 150 students the concepts of chemistry. His courses are composed of in-class lectures; self-made, thorough presentations; textbook reading; ed puzzles; and practice problems, ensuring that students have a variety of resources to learn from that appeal to their learning style.

“Science has never been my strongest suit. But with Mr. Garcia, he’s really, he’s a really good teacher. He’s really nice, and he teaches a lot. He tries to clear up all of our doubts and clarifications about science, so I’ve gotten a better understanding and I’ve gained more interest in science because of his teaching style,” said sophomore Anirudh Karunakaran, who has had Mr.Garcia as a science teacher for the past 2 years.

Within his family, Garcia created a teaching legacy. He and his older brother were first generation college students, with Garcia being the first to become a teacher. Coincidentally, he created a pattern, as both of his older and younger brothers, his grandmother, his sister-in-law, and his aunt later became teachers, and created a new generation of educators within the family.

Although Mr.Garcia received the Teacher of the Year honor, he sees the award as a dedication to all of his fellow teachers who have inspired him to strive to develop his character in the classroom.

“I try to emulate all the amazing teachers I know who work here at Carnegie, who don’t get the recognition that they deserve,” said Garcia.

CVHS students are just as or possibly more excited than Garcia himself regarding the annual honor. Needless to say, many might agree that the award was well-deserved. 

“Having him as a teacher and having class with him, at least for me, and for a couple of students I know, just really makes their day,” said sophomore Lillian Hurysz.