The Alice High School's Criminal Justice teacher received a surprise Wednesday when he learned that he was the December Amazing Teacher.

Juan Garcia, or Chief Garcia as his students call him, was nominated for the Alice Echo News Journal and Bowden Ford's Amazing Teacher Award by the parent of one of his current student.

Judy Salinas' son, Michael Corona, is a junior at Alice High School. According to Salinas, Garcia has made a difference in her son’s life from the moment they met.

"Michael met Chief Garcia when he was a freshman. Michael had just started high school and was having trouble in ninth grade," Salinas said. "The staff suggested (Michael) join the Junior Police Academy. So he did. Ever since than Michael’s whole life changed."

Corona was known to be very shy, quiet, kept to himself. He never trusted anyone with his emotions especially when something bothered him until he started taking the law enforcement class. 

Salinas credits Garcia for the positive changes in her son's life.

Garcia has been a law enforcement teacher and the sponsor for the Junior Police Academy for almost three years. He has a total of 32 years in law enforcement and was the San Diego Police Chief. He became a teacher at Alice ISD when the opportunity presented itself in order to educate kids about the law and to share his experiences.

"You hope that your making a difference, but you never really know until things like this happen," Garcia stated. "You don't think that kids are listening... You don't know because the students won't tell you, but it's good to know."

Garcia likes the fact that he can make a difference in the lives of his students and others. Because he is a teacher with law enforcement experience, the students get comfortable with him and together they talk about real-life situations.

AENJ will surprise a teacher each month until May. To nominate a teacher whose made a difference in your child's life, you can click on the nomination Amazing Teacher button on our website at