LC Board of Trustees Position 1: Erika Benavides Garcia Q&A

Education: Master of Science in Education from Texas A&M International University with a degree in Educational Administration and Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas State University with a degree in Finance from Normal Southwestern State University.

Previous Elected Office: nothing else

1. Why are you qualified for this position?

With 28 years of experience in education and 30-plus years serving our community in non-profit organizations, I feel very qualified.

As a teacher in United ISD, I was a business teacher, career and technology department chair, and sponsor of student organizations. After receiving my master’s, I served as director of student activities and assistant principal, all at a high school. I have extensive knowledge of student needs, budgets, campus improvement plans, special programs, and career and technology programs. I have first-hand understanding of preparing students for higher education, the needs of parents for their children and themselves, and adults who want to pursue higher education after work hours.

Currently, I serve on the boards of United Way of Laredo, Laredo Center for the Arts, Laredo Main Street and Laredo Chamber of Commerce. Serving our community on these boards has given me the opportunity to work with others to diversify the economy and improve the quality of life and place for our citizens. The importance of collaborating with the city, county, business owners and managers, and hardworking citizens gives me an understanding of needs and how Laredo College can best address those needs.

2. What is your platform and what issues are most important to you?

My platform focuses on:

1.) Increase enrollment in the college. Currently, enrollment is down more than 30 percent.

2.) Expand current program offerings to meet the needs of certain sectors in our community such as the construction management program, mortuary program, court reporting and truck driving/training program.

3.) Ensure existing facilities are appropriate for programs and student needs.

The most important thing to me is that all qualified students have access to a higher education to support themselves, their families, and in turn, our communities.

3. Which department or initiative do you believe needs more investment from the board?

I believe that we need to look at and invest in expanding program offerings to meet the needs of all stakeholders and provide as many opportunities as possible, with new programs, tools, labs, and instruction provided.

4. What should LC do to increase enrollment?

Working with high school students, I know the imperative to have accurate, accessible, and consistent representation on high school campuses. To help with the college application process, students and families can schedule visits with Laredo College representatives and discuss the wide range of opportunities Laredo College has to offer. These include HR certificates, associate degrees, courses that transfer to four-year universities, and bachelor’s degrees. The two undergraduate degrees offered are a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership. Consider the amazing achievements at Laredo College, such as the LEAPS program for students interested in STEM majors, allied health programs, community education, and others mentioned earlier.

Also look for new sources of scholarships such as grants, foundations, grants, charities and individuals.

5. Have you ever been suspected or convicted of any crime? If so, explain the circumstances and consequences.


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