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Rio Grande Valley

In the Rio Grande Valley, we believe that our "familia" includes all students. Join educators and the broader community in ensuring that students receive the education they deserve and our community's future demands.
mural of students graduating
On This Page
“To survive the Borderlands / you must live sin fronteras / be a crossroads.  ”

Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Author, Poet, Activist

About Us

Situated in deep South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley is 43,000 square miles bounded by the Rio Grande River to the west and south and the Gulf of Mexico to the east. The Valley's cultural richness and diversity has led to a community that is strong, proud, and determined—and a region that sings with opportunity and collaboration. However, from the colonization of native peoples by the Spanish, to the dominance of Anglo settlers over Mexican Americans, to the emergence of powerful multinational manufacturing firms, our region has been engaged in an ongoing struggle for equity.

Teachers in the Rio Grande Valley are faced with a steep challenge. For every 100 students entering a public school classroom in South Texas today, only 12 will receive a college degree within six years of graduation. As early as third grade, students in South Texas are performing behind their peers across the state and this disparity persists into college for those students who are able to further their education.

Since 1991, Teach For America has brought more than 1,400 leaders to South Texas schools. Due to the partnership and sustained efforts of district teams, such as Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and schools like IDEA, committed family, engaged community partners, and supportive elected officials, student outcomes have improved significantly during this time. The high school graduation rate has risen from 78 percent to over 90 percent since 2001, exceeding the rate for the rest of the state. This is an exciting time to live and lead in the Valley, where we are part of a movement working to change the region’s educational landscape and expectations for achievement.

Get to Know the RGV

Naturally situated on a physical border of the Rio Grande river (know as the Rio Bravo in Mexico), the Rio Grande Valley sits at the crossroads of two nations with intertwined history, culture, and language. For much of its history, the region has been characterized or defined by what it lacks. Increasingly confident, the local community is communicating its own narrative with a strong emphasis on family and community. Together, leaders from across sectors are stating that we can—and must—provide higher quality educational options for all students.

As issues swirl in the national consciousness about identity, immigration, and our future, educators in the Rio Grande Valley have been slowly changing the odds. In a community where more than 85 percent of students are classified as economically disadvantaged, regional educational indicators have been increasingly able to catch up to, and in many cases surpass, the state average. In the past, the expectation might have been to graduate high school but now families and communities are demanding more opportunities for students to pursue higher education, including a new university and medical school.

Educators are highly respected leaders in the community and given flexibility to innovate and develop additional solutions and pathways for students. Teach For America partners with a wide variety of school districts to infuse leadership of our corps members and alumni and continue to fuel the current change as we work towards greater educational opportunities for all students.

“When my senior year of college came around, I knew I wanted to help others, but it wasn’t until I spoke to my Teach For America recruiter that I finally decided how I would do so. TFA’s mission of seeking equity for all deeply resonated with me and reminded me of my former teachers, some of whom were from TFA who, thanks to their constant encouragement, helped me get to and through college. Having grown up in the low-income and primarily Hispanic community of Inglewood California, I understood the importance of having strong and passionate teachers in the classroom. I wanted to be able to push my students to reach their full potential in STEM the same way that my former TFA teachers did for me.” - José Castillo, RV Corps Member 2020

Changemakers wanted.

Check your eligibility to join the Rio Grande Valley corps today.
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Made for This Moment

Driving this change has been bold leadership, school systems leaders from PK-12, institutions of higher education and the workforce collaborating to create systems, and public-private partnerships and coordinated philanthropy. As a result, there has been a collective and consistent call for better educational outcomes for all children in preparation for the 21st century demands our students face.

Over the course of 27 years, Teach For America Rio Grande Valley has been a trailblazer in building a formidable leadership pipeline and network that has been a strong driver in this progress at the system, school, and classroom leadership level. Look across the Rio Grande Valley, and you will see the footprint our corps members and alumni continue to make in our community. In spite of this progress, we know there is so much more to be done in order to ensure today’s students are the leaders our community needs in the future.

Rio Grande Valley Classroom
“I feel like I am adopted into a culture that wasn't my own to start with but I have grown to feel a part of this amazing place.”

Ivy Stejskal

Rio Grande Valley Corps Member 2015

Where We Work

Corps members teach in the state’s three southernmost counties in ten different districts and over 30 different schools. Because our region is so geographically vast, we strive to keep corps members in groups to ensure that they receive support and can partner together and with colleagues to increase student opportunities and achievement.


Map of RGV Where We Work
© Photo Zietz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Get in Touch

Questions about Teach For America Rio Grande Valley?
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Board Leadership

Thank you to our Advisory Board and our Alumni Board.

Our Supporters

Teach For America Rio Grande Valley is so grateful for our supporters.
Our Supporters
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Support Our Work

All gifts help our effort to recruit, select, train, and support excellent teachers and leaders for Rio Grande Valley students.