Las Cruces Public Schools mourns the loss of longtime teacher Sylvia L. Garcia. Garcia died early Sunday after battling COVID-19. She was 60.

“We are devastated,” said LCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Trujillo. “Sylvia was a beloved, veteran educator with deep roots in this district. Our school family is doing all we can to support her children in this extremely difficult time.”

Garcia began her career in education in 1991 with LCPS. She taught at Sunrise Elementary, Hermosa Heights Elementary and Valley View Elementary. In 2019, she joined the staff at Lynn Community Middle School teaching math and reading intervention to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.

“I remember Sylvia’s first email to me,” said Brenda Ballard, principal at Lynn. “She was excited to be at a school where she was needed, and where she felt a deep sense of place. Her late brother was one of the first students at Lynn when the school was built.”

Ballard said that Garcia had kept in regular communication with her school family after being hospitalized. According to Ballard, it was important to Garcia that she keep her colleagues updated on her prognosis.

“Sylvia was a deeply committed, invested member of our Lynn family,” Ballard said in a statement. “She was a unique teacher whose reach went beyond the classroom; she invested in the lives of her students and her colleagues and she made students feel like they were her own family. During our remote learning time, she would find ways to engage students in something personal. She knew details about students few others did.

“Beyond being a great and caring teacher, she was an amazing friend and colleague. She cared for everyone on the staff and would go above and beyond to check in with people. In March, when we were working remotely, she came to school one day to get some teaching materials from the classroom. My uncle had passed away the evening before and she just sat with me for an hour or so, not asking questions, just being present. Her friends will tell you similar stories.

“Hearing news around the nation as it relates to this pandemic just hit home for us.”

Kelly Jameson, Public Information Officer, 575-527-5811, kjameson@lcps.net