Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D., strongly believes in the philosophy of Horace Mann – widely regarded as the “Father of Education” – that education is the great equalizer among men, and this serves as his guiding principle as superintendent of schools for South Texas Independent School District (STISD).
The idea that education is the one thing in life that cannot be taken away is one that was instilled in him during childhood, and it is for this reason that he vows to provide nothing less than excellence in educational experiences for all students. He shares that, “I believe that all students are entitled to quality education, by highly qualified and motivated educators, using the most current teaching methods and tools in the delivery of instruction, for the greater benefit of our students and the greater good of our nation and our world.”
Dr. Lara was hired by the STISD board of directors as superintendent of schools in October 2018. He started with the district on Nov. 1, 2018, bringing with him nearly 25 years of experience in education.
He started his career in education at San Perlita Independent School District in 1994, filling various roles within the district over the next 12 years, including teacher; curriculum & instruction leader; business & operations manager; director for human resources; positions in federal programs, food service, technology, and construction; and superintendent. His varied experiences and responsibilities while at San Perlita ISD made him the perfect candidate for the next role he took on as Deputy Director for Leadership, School, and Community Support at Region One Education Service Center (Region One), a position he held for 12 years. In this role, he provided superintendent leadership training, support and technical assistance, school board trustee training, support and technical assistance, and division leadership in the following areas: Human Resources, Adult Basic Education, Early Childhood Intervention, Alternative Certification, School Safety, School Health, Safe & Drug Free Schools, Center for eLearning, Leadership Development, School Readiness Integration and School Transportation.
Aside from his experience in education, Lara also holds a wealth of experience in the public sector, having spent his early career in resort and hotel management and management of a law office.
Dr. Lara holds a bachelor of business administration from Southwest Texas State University, a master of science in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and a doctor of education degree from the University of Texas-Pan American. He is certified as a superintendent, a principal and an office education teacher.
Dr. Lara’s vision for STISD is to continue engaging students in premier educational opportunities that enrich their lives, using creativity and innovation to address the needs of a diverse student population. He believes in the need to change and adapt to overcome challenges and provide the best opportunities for those served. His long-term goals as superintendent include the following:
- To enhance and expand opportunities to develop and improve relationships with internal and external stakeholders that benefit the STISD educational community.
- To promote opportunities for all students and staff to participate in activities that stimulate creative and innovative thinking.
- To be the example of a high-performing educational institution that focuses on student outcomes, throughout the region, state, and nation.
- To reinforce foundational practices and procedures that lead to higher levels of academic achievement
- To model professionalism, integrity, pride, and to set core values that will be reflected in all of the STISD community actions.
Family is important to Dr. Lara – both STISD family and Lara family – and he prioritizes time and relationships. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling alongside his wife Molly, sons Jonathan and Marc, and two-year-old grandson Abel.