Ms. Bonnie Garza provides parent support to ensure that the child with a disability is educated in the public school system in a manner that is designed to meet their unique differences and prepare him/her for further education, employment, and independent living.
Bonnie Garza’s twenty-five year career experience has been exclusively in Special Education. It includes being a Special Education Teacher for 13 years at four different campuses in three different school districts. Because of this, Bonnie was fortunate to teach children who had demographic variances across the spectrum as well as a wide range of disability conditions. Ms. Garza’s capacity as a teacher was primarily in a resource setting for Kindergarten through 6th grade, but her classroom also served as a self-contained setting and content mastery setting for some children. Thus, she has first-hand experience with the development of IEPs and the delivery of “individualized” instruction in, what can potentially be, a chaotic environment.
After completing her Master’s Degree in Special Education and additional certification as a Diagnostician, Bonnie Garza worked as a Special Education Compliance Monitor and Non-Public Facilities State Coordinator for the Texas Education Agency. In the four years in these capacities, Bonnie traveled to school districts all over Texas monitoring their special education programs for compliance with the state and federal regulations. In the latter capacity, Bonnie visited private facilities that were being considered by school districts to provide educational services for children with disabilities for whom they did not have adequate resources in-district to appropriately serve. Compliance of both parties in the choosing of non-public facility placement was needed to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education. In this process, not only did Ms. Garza learn special education law, but she also learned that there are different school cultures in different parts of Texas and an extremely wide range of services on the continuum available to children with disabilities.
Next Bonnie Garza went on to work for the Texas Education Agency as a Special Education Complaints Investigator – one of four in the state of Texas. For six years in this capacity, Bonnie investigated the complaints filed by English and Spanish speaking parents who were exercising their rights to file a complaint, request mediation, or file for due process hearing in an attempt to secure a free appropriate public education for their child. In investigating the complaints, Bonnie applied the laws of procedural compliance that she had learned previously to raise findings in favor of the parent from 10% of the cases in 2001 to 50% in 2006. Additional certification from the University of Texas Law School as a Mediator during this time allowed Ms. Garza to practice impartiality, fairness, and communication in a medium that is conducive to the preservation of a working relationship between both parties.
Cumulatively, Bonnie Garza’s work experience provides a comprehensive realm and extensive repertoire from which to draw on in order to impose or suggest an appropriate solution to the given individual situations that parents or school districts present to her. Bonnie is able to assist parents and school districts in the throes of an inadequate and bureaucratic system to ensure that the child is appropriately served and the relationship between the parent and the school district is maintained as a collaborative relationship working toward the ultimate independence of the child upon graduation. It is Bonnie’s earnest opinion that she can provide a service that will move things forward in a positive way.
If you need to reach Ms. Bonnie Garza for advocacy services, please call 512.358.4395.