New TSC Childcare program coordinator has teaching in her veins

Crystal Prado is coming to Texas Southmost College with nearly 20 years of experience in the education field. Coming from a family of teachers, Prado said she is ready to take her teachings to a new level – higher education.

The 36-year-old was recently hired by TSC as the program coordinator and an instructor for the Childcare and Development program, making the transition from K-12 to higher education.

“I’m so excited to be part of the Scorpion family,” said Prado. “I’m ready for this change, this new chapter in my career and to use my years of experience to shape future educators.”

The San Juan native’s passion for teaching started at a young age, and even though she would be the first in her family to receive a college education, the importance of an education was always instilled in her by her parents.

Knowing how critical education was for growth, she decided to attend the teaching academy in Edinburg to get a head start on her training.

“I knew I wanted to not only get an education, but I also wanted to teach,” she said. “I wanted to inspire the love of learning, impact lives and share my passion of education.”

Prado earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in bilingual education and master’s degrees in special education and guidance and counseling.

She went on to work with the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, McAllen Independent School District and IDEA Public Schools as an early childhood education, grades 3-5 and special education teacher and a guidance counselor.

“The years I have spent in the classroom and helping shape young minds and lives have been the most rewarding part of my career,” said Prado. “But recently I began to feel like I was ready for a change, to take my teaching skills to new places and I found higher education to be my calling.”

Not only has Prado accepted TSC’s offer to become the college’s program coordinator and instructor for the Childcare and Development program in August, but she is also working on her doctorate in educational leadership.

“I feel so privileged becoming a part of TSC and being given the opportunity to mold a future generation of teachers,” she said. “It feels like I’ve come full circle and I want my new students to know that my door is always open. I am here to share knowledge, support them and ensure all of our graduates become well-rounded teachers.”

Prado said her goal as an instructor and program coordinator is to implement inclusive teaching practices that will help every child, including those with learning disabilities, integrate the program into the local community by adopting schools, promoting literacy and providing networking opportunities for her students and last, but not least, create a student-led early childcare development organization on campus that will create leadership and community service opportunities for her students.

“Our career is one that impacts lives on a daily basis, young and old,” said Prado. “I want our TSC students to find their voice and realize that what we do in childcare and development changes lives. I hope that we also have a positive impact on our TSC students’ lives as well.”

TSC’s Childcare and Development program is a five-semester Associate degree program, providing educational opportunities for students to develop entry-level skills, upgrade skills needed for career advancement and complete coursework required to transfer to a four-year university baccalaureate program.

Visit TSC’s Childcare and Development program for more information.