The Galveston Community College District Board of Regents on Wednesday, March 20, accepted a nominating committee’s recommendation to appoint Mary R. Longoria of Galveston to fill the unexpired term of longtime Regent Florentino “Tino” Gonzalez, who died Jan. 22 following a courageous battle with brain cancer.

“We are excited that Mary will be joining our board, bringing to Galveston College her strong commitment to serving the community and our students, as well as her many connections in Galveston and in the region,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, president.

An educator with more than 34 years of experience as a teacher and volunteer in public schools, Longoria served as parent liaison and taught science in the Galveston Independent School District and Galveston Catholic School. She also worked as a biology lab instructor at Central Texas College, a community college in Killeen, Texas, and in instructional services for the Hidalgo Independent School District.

Longoria volunteered as a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative for the past four years and served on the GISD Bond Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Magnet Research Task Force, and Ball High School, Austin Middle School, Weis Middle School and Oppe Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organizations.

Longoria co-founded the Ser y Hacer adult education citizenship and English language program and served as a translator and parent advocate in the Teen Mental Health Clinic at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She also served as a board member of the Galveston County Children’s Advocacy Center and member of the St. Anne Society and Space City Triplets.

“’Opening Doors and Changing Lives’ is more than a motto. It is a living promise that the college and its board put into practice every day,” said Longoria in a statement to the board. “An education can profoundly change lives not only for the graduates, but also for those around them. This change is often so deep and long lasting that it continues in perpetuity. I see this in practice not only in my own life, but also in my capacity as a teacher of citizenship and ESL classes. This is what drives me to continue helping young adults become self-sufficient, productive members of our community.”

Longoria received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1985 and completed continuing education in immigration law, citizenship education and teacher training.

She has extensive experience working with immigrants and refugees from various cultures and countries, including Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, Columbia, Peru, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Syria, England, Germany, Russia and India.

Galveston Community College District Board of Regents nominating committee members included Regent Raymond Lewis, Jr., chair, Regent Carl E. Kelly and Regent Carroll G. Sunseri.

The board will consider an official resolution of appointment and Longoria will take the oath of office at the April 10 meeting.