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News: PCC Instructor Named Preschool Teacher of the Year for Work with Autistic Children


Pasadena City College is proud to announce that adjunct faculty instructor of Social Sciences, Antonio Garza Jr., has been named “Preschool Teacher of the Year” by Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP). Garza, along with five other Los Angeles County preschool teachers, was recently presented with the award during a celebration at the Globe Theatre in Universal Studios Hollywood. 

Garza, who was honored for his more than 10 years of service to special needs children, began his career at PCC’s Child Development Center before he became a Head Start teacher for the El Monte Unified School District. Garza is currently the preschool special education teacher for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, where he teaches students with moderate to severe autism in a self-contained classroom.

Garza said that most of the preschoolers begin his program with little to no language, significant behavior challenges, and little awareness of the world. Some of his methods of improving development skills include playing the guitar to his students.

“It is an indescribable feeling to witness firsthand the development of a child who has missed crucial milestones in his or her life, and when given the appropriate intervention, individuals with autism have the potential to change the direction of their lives,” Garza said.

Garza graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, and a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education.

“It has been an honor to be asked back by both of my alma maters to teach and influence new generation of teachers,” Garza said. 

LAUP is a non-profit network of more than 300 preschool sites established to fund a free or low-cost preschool education to the children of Los Angeles County.

Release Date: 05/20/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director, Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7315

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