and Science Academy Names New Principal
Dr. Wilma Jo Smetter
Dr. Wilma Jo Smetter starts her new position, the academy will have 42 new high
school juniors and a 100 percent retention rate with 46 seniors returning when
classes begin Monday, Aug. 26.
am excited to be here and everyone is here to create the best atmosphere for
the students,” said Smetter. “I feel very fortunate to have a university
president (Dr. Juliet V. Garcia) who understands our students and The
University of Texas System giving the university the resources for the
goal of Smetter’s is to expand the academy’s student population possibly to
include international students.
are confident that Dr. Smetter will provide leadership in determining in what
directions the academy should grow, and she will lead MSA to the next stage of
its development,” said Dr. Mikhail Bouniaev, Dean of the College of
Science, Mathematics and Technology. “Dr. Smetter has been a voice for
parents who want the best for their children. She is now eager to be the voice
of the MSA students and parents.”
Mathematics and Science Academy in the College of Science, Mathematics and
Technology was created by the 79th Texas Legislature in 2005. Graduating
students receive a high school diploma from the Mathematics and Science Academy
and have up to 68 semester credit hours, enough to have finished the first two
years of college. The first cohort of high school-aged juniors began in fall
2007 and graduated with high school diplomas, and some with associate degrees,
in spring 2009.
was born in Falfurrias in Brooks County and 12 days later moved with her family
to San Diego, Calif. Her father, Buck Garza, was a drill sergeant in the U.S.
Marine Corps and after retirement worked more than 20 years for HEB. His jobs
meant for Smetter many relocations and at least 10 primary and secondary
schools. Smetter is a graduate of King High School in Kingsville.
was always the new kid,” she said. “We had to adjust. I think that helped me in
the roles I have been in.”
resident of Port Isabel and San Benito, Smetter enjoys reading and taking her
family’s Chihuahua for walks.
has worked more than three decades as a teacher, assistant principal,
principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in several Rio Grande
Valley school districts.
has been honored for her work by the Region One Education Service Center in
Edinburg, the Harlingen Jaycees and Pan American University, now The University
of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg.
received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1981 and a master’s
degree in health and physical education in 1982 from Pan American University.
She received a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction in 2002 from the
University of Houston.
MSA will have its 2013 Convocation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 in the
Education and Business Complex’s Salon Cassia.