MERCEDES – Former South Texas Independent School District (STISD) superintendent Marla M. Guerra, Ed.D., of Edinburg, received an honorary doctoral degree from longtime educational partner Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in recognition of her many years of work to bring opportunities for students interested in medicine, science and the health professions, to the Rio Grande Valley.

This degree was conferred upon Dr. Guerra in May 2019, symbolizing a celebration of the partnership between BCM and STISD, which dates back to the establishment of STISD’s first vocational magnet high school – South Texas High School for Health Professions, or Med High – in 1983.

Since Med High opened for students in the early 1980s, STISD established three additional magnet high schools and two middle schools to serve students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties. Today, the district consists of six state and nationally-recognized magnet schools – South Texas ISD Health Professions (formerly known as Med High), South Texas ISD Medical Professions, South Texas ISD Preparatory Academy, South Texas ISD Rising Scholars Academy, South Texas ISD Science Academy and South Texas ISD World Scholars.

Dr. Guerra served as superintendent of schools for STISD for 17 years, playing a crucial role in the expansion and success of the district and its partnership with BCM. Aside from overall support in the planning and maintaining of the district’s medical programs, BCM has also provided the district with longstanding summer programs for its students, allowing for unique hands-on experiences not possible within the high school environment, and priceless networking opportunities.

Guerra proudly accepted the doctoral degree at the BCM Commencement 2019 ceremony in late May, crediting it back to the district. “This honor is not my honor; it’s the district's. The partnership between STISD and BCM has existed for many years, and it has afforded STISD students a wealth of opportunities to learn about the medical profession as well as experience life outside the Valley. Although I am no longer with STISD, I am confident that this partnership will continue to thrive for many years to come.”

For additional information on STISD, its campuses or programs, visit www.stisd.net or call 956.565.2454.