The Garland Educational Support Staff Association (GESSA) was organized to help our support staff in September 1974. When it began, it had a membership of 34 support service employees. Now, membership is increasing every year.

Our purpose

GESSA works to improve the standards of its members through study and professional growth, promoting fellowship, increasing interest in school and community relationships and in providing efficient service to our schools.

Our organization awards scholarships to graduating seniors at each of the high schools. If funds allow, active support staff employees interested in furthering their education are also chosen to receive a scholarship. Membership is open to any support staff employed in our district. Dues are set by the Executive Committee.

GESSA Mission

Our mission is to help our paraprofessionals and support staff enhance the district in a way that:

  • communicates effectively to and for the organization
  • promotes a positive atmosphere within the membership
  • enlists principal/administrative support through newsletters, building representatives and services provided to members
  • enhances training to include relevant programs and mentoring opportunities
  • and provides opportunities for service to others

Through doing this, GESSA helps to create improved student learning through:

  • a better work environment for our staff
  • a stronger support system for members
  • and camaraderie in the organization

GESSA 2022-23 meeting calendar

All GESSA General Meetings will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Some meetings will be face-to-face and others virtual. Flyers and emails will be sent out with information on registering through Eduphoria Strive.

Date Topic/Speaker

Sept. 29

The New Frontier in Education
Mr. Michael Bland
Face-to-face: Austin Academy MS

Oct. 27

Inspiring Excellence Together in Student Enrichment
Magnet/College for All
Mrs. Tammy McDonald and Mrs. Audrey Smallwood

Nov. 17

Inspiring Excellence Together Through Community Engagement
Dr. Ramona Aguilar
Face-to-face: North Garland High School

Feb. 23

Inspiring Excellence Together for the Future
Dr. Kishawna Wiggins and guest

March 30

Inspiring Excellence Together in Leadership
Mr. Ray Merrill

May 18

Inspiring Excellence Together in Wellness
Ms. Elizabeth Kiertscher
Face-to-face: Transportation meeting room

TPEP Program

TESA Professional Enrichment Program (TPEP) is a professional development program designed for educational support personnel.

Program Structure TPEP is a three-phase program designed to build technical and job-specific skills for educational support personnel. Sessions are held by local school districts, colleges and educational service centers. Certificates of attendance are presented at the end of each TPEP session. Though classes are designed to build on each other, participants may take the classes in any order and progress toward Certified Educational Organization Professional (CEOP) certification.

GISD compensates full-time paraprofessionals who attain their CEOP certification with a stipend of $600 a year (paid monthly), beginning the first check of the next contract year, and for each following year they meet recertification requirements.

The TPEP program is sponsored by the Texas Educational Support Staff Association, Inc. (TESA). The program was developed in cooperation with the Texas Education Agency, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, Texas Public Community/Junior College Association, University of Texas, and other professional educational associations. The original program was funded through an ECIA, Chapter 2, Section 577 grant.

For more information, go to the TESA website and click on “T-PEP Program”, or contact the current GESSA TPEP representative.

Note: The TESA Central Office cannot maintain TPEP records for nonmembers. 

Officers and committees

Position Name School/Department Contact
President Alicia Lopez Secretary Magnet
Harris Hill
Box 614
Vice President

Diana Rodriguez

Transportation Specialist
Box 506

Secretary Gene Hagen

Secretary to the Director
Health Services
Box 155

Treasurer Elsie Valdez

Transportation Specialist/Payroll
Box 506

Parliamentarian Julianna Holmes Technology Center
Tech Support
Box 801
Fundraising Open    
Hospitality Tracy Counts

Kindergarten ABC Aide
Lister Elementary
Box 239
Historian Open
Membership Sandi Davis

Austin Academy
Box 301

Newsletter/Yearbook Diana Rodriguez

Transportation Specialist
Box 506

Scholarship Debra Coleman Secretary to Executive Director
Office of Innovation
Harris Hill
Box 607
Service Projects Open    
TPEP Coordinator Juliana Holmes Technology Center
Tech Support
Box 801
Admin Liaison Michael Bland

Executive Director of Innovation
Harris Hill
Box 607