Celestina DE LA Garza

Celestina is a School Design Partner with Transcend. Originally from the West Side of San Antonio,  she knows the power of a great education and the options a strong educational foundation can provide.  Celestina began her educational career with Teach For America in the Bronx, New York. She went on to become a founding kindergarten teacher at Leadership Prep Bed-Stud, one of the first elementary schools with Uncommon Schools. 

A product of all women’s high schools and colleges, she was the founding principal of Excellence Girls Charter School in Brooklyn, New York – a National Blue Ribbon Award-winning school.  During her time at Excellence Girls, the school ranked among the top 10 highest scoring NYC charter schools for both 3rd and 4th grades and was ranked one of the top elementary schools in the city.  As the principal of Leadership Prep Brownsville, she helped to improve state test scores by more than 20% points in her first year as school principal.   Celestina began working with school leaders with Relay Graduate School of Education. Her role as the Dean of Texas Leadership Programs brought her back to her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and she began supporting principals and school superintendents throughout Texas. 

Celestina believes schools, even great schools, are not always designed for the success of every learner.  Equitable school models necessitate a design that allows ALL students to thrive. This belief led her to found Spelligent Texas, a non-profit organization focused on supporting families, educators, and students with a variety of learning needs.  Now, with Transcend, she has an incredible opportunity to support schools as they redesign their campuses with their students and communities in mind.  In her spare time, you can find Cele running and working out, reading, volunteering at her children’s schools or church, or running around with her husband, 3 children, and 2 schnoodles. 


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Working at Transcend presents you with an opportunity to work with kind, passionate, collaborative, and feedback-driven teammates to reimagine the future of schools. Our teammates partner with schools and leaders to redesign schools and accelerate innovation.

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Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.