Deputy Superintendent Josh Garcia Named National 2013 Outstanding Young Educator

3/16/2013 | TACOMA, Washington

​Josh Garcia, deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools, received one of two 2013 Outstanding Young Educator awards today at ASCD’s 68th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Chicago, the organization announced.

Garcia has dedicated his career to closing the achievement gap and serving the whole child. In his role as associate superintendent in Federal Way Public Schools near Tacoma, Garcia prioritized the creation of a flexible learning program to meet the needs of all students by introducing International Baccalaureate and advanced placement (AP) programs at the middle and high school levels, as well as led the implementation of web 2.0 technology tools and social media programs. To set a culture of high expectations in the school district, Garcia has also employed an ‘opt out’ versus ‘opt in’ strategy for AP courses, which over the course of three years has resulted in an 72 percent enrollment increase by juniors and seniors taking at least one AP class.

In addition, at Tacoma Public Schools, Garcia has created community-based partnerships with important community organizations, including the University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma Schools Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and Stand for Children Washington. These partnerships have helped improve student college, career and citizenship readiness.

Garcia’s work for Tacoma has involved working with the School Board, district leadership and school staff to focus attention and resources on:

  • Improving the academic achievement of students.
  • Creating a system to track student performance data that allows early intervention when students fall behind.
  • Establishing a series of detailed public benchmarks to track the district’s performance on its strategic goals in academic achievement, safety, early learning and partnerships.
  • Giving students more ways to gain credits toward graduation.

“Being named one of the 2013 ASCD Outstanding Young Educators is truly a humbling honor for me as an educator and human being. I believe every student should and can graduate from our schools well-prepared for higher education. Unfortunately, many of the brick walls our children face are human made,” said Garcia, who joined Tacoma Public Schools in July 2012. “Schools and community leaders must work relentlessly to dissolve these barriers and build cohesive systems that promote excellence for all. I hope that my award will give me a platform to continue my work to fulfill our pledge to provide every child the opportunity to pursue a successful life.”

ASCD, the international education association, created the OYEA program in 2002 to recognize creative and committed teachers and administrators under the age of 40 who are making a difference in children’s lives. A panel of diverse education professionals selected Garcia and Ryan Twentey, a high school photography teacher from Baltimore, Md., as the 2013 winners from a large pool of candidates nominated by educators across the globe.

ASCD’s OYEA program provides winners and a cadre of honorees with opportunities for leadership skill building, professional development, networking, and the opportunity to share best practices with one another and the ASCD community.

Contact Information 
• Dan Voelpel, director, Public Information, 253-571-1015,
• Katie Test, Communications Specialist, ASCD, 571-223-8256,


Josh Garcia after winning the award in Chicago.