GEORGE WEST – The opportunity to focus his attention on one campus and work with George West ISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Rosebrock opened the door for Omar De La Rosa to become the new principal at George West Elementary School.
“The start of the school year is busy and exciting, and we’ve had a great start to the school year,” De La Rosa said.
“This is a great community — I’ve been very happy with the people here. They go out of their way to be helpful and are so friendly.”
Before coming to George West, De La Rosa worked for the Flippen Group, an educational consulting firm where Rosebrock also worked.
De La Rosa was involved in leadership training, and his region “South Texas” — actually stretched from Victoria to El Paso.
“There was quite a bit of travel,” he said. “During the school year, I usually stayed in Texas, but during the summer I would travel around the country. There were more than 25 states where I trained teachers and administrators.”
Before his 18-year stint with the Flippen group, De La Rosa worked as an administrator, counselor and teacher for the Mission school district in the Rio Grande Valley.
“We experienced quite a bit of success, and I used (the Flippen Group’s) process a lot,” he said. “I believe in building relationships with people, and building the type of classroom where students want to come to class — that’s important.”
Before joining the Flippen Group, De La Rosa had been in education for 21 years.
How did De La Rosa decide he wanted to pursue a career in education?
“By accident,” he said with a laugh.
In college, he was an athlete on the track team at Pan American University (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley).
During his senior year in college, a graduate assistant asked him if he had considered a career in education.
“I said that I hadn’t, but I was willing to consider it,” De La Rosa said. “I needed the hours so I took the education courses and did student teaching.”
While he was a student teacher at a junior high school in Mission, the principal asked him if he knew what he was going to do the next school year.
“Within two or three days, he offered me a job at that school, and I fell in love with the classroom,” De La Rosa said. “As the years went on I moved up into other positions, and that led to administration down the road.
“I enjoyed it and loved the challenge of it. I love to see success with the teachers and in the classroom. It motivates me to work harder every day. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t in education. This is where I want to be.”
While De La Rosa said it might have been by accident that he initially chose education as a career, it’s no accident that he stayed involved in education throughout his life.
“Fate had something to do with it,” he said. “It led me there and to a career that I’ve enjoyed.”
While working with the Flippen Group allowed him to stayed involved in education, the opportunity to reduce the mount of travel in is life helped lead him to a return to one campus.
“The travel got to be too much,” De La Rosa said. “There were mornings I’d wake up and wonder what town I was in.
“I enjoy being in one place — the stability of that. Traveling is fun but you can get tired of it.”
At the Flippen Group, De La Rosa had gotten to know Rosebrock.
“We didn’t work together very much but I did enjoy working with him,” De La Rosa said. “He’s a very smart man and knows so much about education.
“The opportunity came up to work for him — I was in the right place at the right time.”
Although De La Rosa’s time at George West ISD has only just begun, he said he has big goals for the elementary.
“We have many great teachers here and even more great students,” he said. “I want every one of them to reach their highest potential.
“I want to help the school become an A-rated campus. We are already A-rated as a district, which is fantastic. Not everybody has the opportunity to be a part of such a great district.”
Building on the school’s success and advancing it even further is De La Rosa’s objective.
“We can make the district even better if we can improve the elementary to an A-rated campus,” he said. “We have to do the work to get there, but we are already close.
“We didn’t miss the A standard by much, and looking at where we need to improve, there’s nothing major. We’re just a few steps away from being at that level. I tell the teachers and the students, ‘Let’s get there. Let’s do what we’ve got to do.
“We have many, many kids close to reaching their potential, and when they do, that will help us reach our goal.”
De La Rosa’s wife still teaches at Mission ISD and helps to care for elderly family members. De La Rosa said they see each other on weekends, and he hopes she will be able to join him in George West next year.
The De La Rosas have two children, a 32-year-old son and a 26-year-old daughter, as well as a 5-year-old grandson.
As a hobby, De La Rosa is a certified official with USA track and field.
“I love to do track meets — I enjoy serving as an official for those whenever I get the opportunity,” he said. “I am fortunate to have worked a couple of championships, and I don’t mind the travel when I get to do that.”
He is also an official for track and cross country at the high school level.
“I really enjoy doing that,” he said. “I see officials from other places, and they’ll tell me when an athlete is from their town.
“I look forward to having George West kids compete at the state level and being able to tell them those kids are from my town. We have some great kids here.”
Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. He can be reached at 361-786-3022 or email@example.com.