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Josh Tovar is a proud Team Member at Memorial Pathway Academy in Garland Independent School District in Garland, Texas. Josh is an engaging, inspirational educator. Josh’s focus is to create a culture full of love and joy for all students. He knows Kids DO NOT care how much you know until they know how much you care.
No more orange jump suits! I say this because I see too many of our students start up okay but then the hardest year is the freshman year in high school. That’s where we lose to many of of our kids who make the wrong choices. They go off track, fall behind in credits, and start ditching school. We need to create a climate, a culture, a campus that is full of joy and love so students know we want the best for them. We have to because they are the future citizens of America and will be running this country. We need to do everything possible to make sure that they are the best version of themselves.
Growing up in El Paso
My mother was a dedicated educator. Through the Methodist church, she received a semi-scholarship to teach at a high school in El Paso, TX. This opened her eyes to what was available in America. I’m a proud immigrant and believe in the American dream. My parents brought my brother and me to this country in 1977 from Chihuahua, Mexico. When we arrived, we had very little. We were poor. My mom worked tirelessly so we could live in an upper class neighborhood near Fort Bliss, a military base, the area where the colonels, majors, and other officers lived.
My teachers were all white and from all over the country. They changed my name. My full name is Federico Josué Tovar. A teacher said that Josué in English is Joshua. So in second grade, my name became Joshua or Josh Tovar.
I had obstacles learning the language so changing my name was the least of it. I had discipline issues and even got suspended in elementary school. I became more assimilated in middle school. By that time, my parents were separated and then divorced. They left me and I lived alone in our house. My dad paid for the bills but that was it. When I got to high school, I just stopped going.
By my freshman year, I was in trouble and trying to cover-up the pain I was feeling with alcohol. I was that knucklehead in high school and know that I made stupid choices. I only talked to my HS counselor once. No one checked on me to see why I wasn’t in school. I needed the PE credit but I didn’t want to be running because I was drinking too much. I realized I needed to pivot, so I joined the ROTC. That’s when I was told by the cadets that I explained things clearly so others could understand it.
My brother was older and had joined the Marines. I knew that I needed to restructure my life. I barely passed high school At 17, I joined the Marines for six years in the reserves.
We all wake up in the morning. You don’t wake up every morning to be 70.
You don’t wake up to suck. You don’t wake up to be average. None of us do.
We all wake up to be excellent. Excellence is a habit.
Becoming an educator
I never went to school when I was in high school. Who would have ever thought I’d then become a history teacher? When I was spending time in the library, I would read historical biographies by Ronald Sims because his writing style engaged me. My mom said to me “you like reading history, so why don’t you become a history teacher?”
When I went to college and took the upper level classes in history, I remembered why I loved history: the stories. I wanted to be that history teacher who gave real-world examples that connected to current times. It evolved and during my student teaching year, the principal told me about a position at his school, Valley View Middle School. I got that job and fell in love with middle school teaching 8th grade US History. I taught for 10 years there.
Why did you become an administrator?
I transferred to Parkland Middle in El Paso, TX near Fort Bliss that is multi-cultural and diverse compared to Valley View. There I met my second mama who pushed me ahead in life: Ms. Millie Williams, a strong African-American woman and principal at Socorro High School, reached out to me and asked for help to coach. I became teacher and coach there and handled everything without any flaws. She then came back to me to tell me that I would become an administrator and to enroll in classes. I did.
There were a lot of suspensions at the school. She created a position for me for in-school suspensions because I would not kick them out and guarantee they would do the work. While I was doing that job, she pushed me to work on my masters. She made sure I would do everything I could to move on to the next level in my life. I love Ms. Millie Williams and she was there on my last day at Socorro HS to give me this hug.
Carmen Crosse, my boss, was the ONLY one to believe in me in becoming an actual Principal at Socorro High School.
It doesn’t matter what degree you have or what experiences you have, you still have your deficiencies and issues that you need to over compensate for. We all need that other perfect jigsaw puzzle to fit in with us to make sure we are complete.
Memorial Pathway Academy, the place to learn
The next 20 years I was an administrator in the El Paso area. Then this opportunity came open in the Dallas area. I applied for it and told me the school has kids at risk and is full of immigrants. Got the job at the start of the pandemic and closure of all the schools. I was able to work remotely from El Paso that first year. I ended up driving back and forth 10 ½ hours the last three months, 3 days in Dallas, 4 days in El Paso. I had to do it. I was hired to protect the school and the board’s vision. I needed to make sure the kids and the team members knew that I was there for them. I need to role model responsibility.
It’s about leadership from the front, not from the back.
Home of the Jaguars
Since most of the kids are immigrants from all over the world not speaking English, they come to MPA to learn English. I learned that it was important to connect with students making sure we provided them with structure. We needed to provide a safe environment and educate them so they get to intermediate or advanced level of English so they have a fighting chance when they go to regular middle or high school. I work with educators that work miracles.
Teen Talk Tuesday
Student of the week
Celebrating Person of the Month
Thank You Notes to Staff
MPA news item from 2022 on Local News (An interview of MPA Spectrum TV)
Everyone is invited to visit our home!
Your Podcast “Unlock The Middle” has 3 shows with Dean Packard, Chris Starczewski, and Josh Tovar
Sunday Show FLAGSHIP SHOW 7pm ET focuses on authors and speakers
Tuesday Show OFFICE HOURS a 20-minute problem solving show
Thursday Show RED ZONE topical show with experts i.e. Supporting Special Ed Students
Josh’s Contact Information
Facebook: MPA Jaguars
Hope you enjoyed my conversation with Josh Tovar who joined me on my virtual porch! Josh helped me create this wonderful post that includes his story, videos of his school, his podcasts, and how you can contact him. Please share this podcast and the post with your friends.
Make sure you check out more of the Rethinking Learning podcasts and each post that the guests created. Click the logo below or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
For more information about my book, Define Your WHY, go to this page or click on the image of the book for resources, questions, and links.