Rudy Garcia, Hardin County Schools Student Support Specialist, has been selected as the 2022 Kentucky School Social Worker of the year by the Kentucky Association for School Social Work.
Mr. Garcia started working for HCS in 2011. He coordinates the district’s student dropout prevention program and the HCS Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) after his implementation of it.
His nomination letter included information about these detail of his work:
- Development of an education program that educates students who have violated district drug and alcohol policies on the benefits of resistance
- Creation of a collaborative community initiative between schools and family/mental health agencies to apply appropriate social and behavioral skills to elementary students
- Coordination with mental health agencies to give parents and students skills that will lead to the development of better relationships
- Coordination of a transition program that aids in transition when a student transitions between their traditional school setting and College View Campus, the HCS alternative education site.
“The cooperative spirit that is shared among HCS family members is a testament to what we can do as a society to help our youth and their families,” Garcia said. “The district and our community have supported me in doing what is best for our students. Social Work is not what I do, it is who I am.”
“You can feel the enthusiasm he has for social work and the students he works with,” College View Campus Assistant Principal Neal Gibbs said. “He is the social worker that other social workers go to for mentoring, advice, and resources. He embodies what social work is meant to be especially at the school level.”
Mr. Garcia is also an adjunct social work professor for the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University. He works with local mental health agencies on boards and committees and supervises social work interns from numerous post-secondary institutions. He and his wife also serve as foster parents.
He is also Kentucky’s nominee for the School Social Worker of the Year at the Midwest School Social Work Conference.