While student-teaching to become a bilingual teacher, Georgina Perez found that many children needed help.
Perez decided to make a career change and transitioned from education to criminal justice. She first worked in corporate law, but ultimately joined the police academy at the University of Houston-Downtown.
Perez notes that becoming a police officer has been her best career decision. Today, she is part of the Spring Branch ISD Police Department. She started her career with SBISD four years ago at Northbrook High, later transitioned to Stratford High and then to Memorial High. Officer Perez is now at the District Alternative Education Program (DAEP) campus, where she collaborates with administrators to provide disciplinary support.
“I heard that students at DAEP needed help and I wanted to support them,” said Officer Perez. “I attended Title 1 schools and was an ‘at-risk youth’ growing up. But through mentors and positive role models, I was able to succeed. I want to be that positive role model in the students’ lives and show them that they are not bad kids, but are just making bad choices.”
Officer Perez says that the best part about her job is that she continues to help students, as she would as a teacher, but now in a police uniform. She enjoys seeing students smile but she especially enjoys educating them on how she supports and promotes a healthy learning environment for Every Child.
Officer Perez has faced challenges in her position. She mentions that at times students are not interested in listening to an officer. However, she has learned to de-escalate situations and encourage them to adopt a more positive attitude. She strives to change students’ perspectives on law enforcement by connecting with them and showing them to see officers as people before authoritative figures.
To further her knowledge, Officer Perez is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of North Texas.
“Working in SBISD motivated me to further my education,” said Officer Perez. “My leadership allows me to pursue training to further my professional career, which gives me the tools to provide the best to those I serve.”
After graduation, she hopes to continue her career at SBISD and ultimately transition into a leadership role.
When asked who motivates her, Officer Perez refers back to her 11th grade math teacher, Mr. Choi.
“Mr. Choi motivated me to be brave and believe I could be successful despite the challenges we faced. He and his wife have been my mentors for the last 14 years. They have always pushed me to continue my education and even helped me pay for my college tuition and books.”
Their generosity inspired Officer Perez to pursue a public service career and she hopes to one day be a source of motivation for someone, as Mr. Choi has been for her.
Officer Perez likes to remind people that “it’s not the plane, it’s the pilot,” and we should not look at the difficulties or challenges, but only at our skill set and how we can use that to be successful.
Learn about Spring Branch ISD staff and their commitment to Every Child. Read their stories here.