Arelis Garcia | Fiscal Services
Dare to dream and believe in yourself.
By Arelis Garcia, Chief Financial Officer, Madera Unified School District
MY NAME IS Arelis Garcia, I am the Chief Financial Officer for Madera Unified. I was born in a small town in Guerrero, Mexico. I lived in Acapulco for five years before migrating to the United States when I was 18 years old.
The first challenge I encountered when I came to this country was the language barrier. My first goal was to learn English and enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Madera Adult School. I attended Job Corps, a program that provided me the clerical training to start my career as a data entry clerk. This job put food on the table, but in the back of my mind, I always wanted to go back to school to achieve something bigger and more challenging. I enrolled at Madera Center Community College. At the same time, I had a full time job and a family to take care of. Six years later I earned my associate degree in Accounting. I knew I would not stop there and decided to go for more. A year later I enrolled in the Business program at the University of Phoenix. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Business in 2014. In 2017, I earned my certificate through the Chief Business Official program with the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team.
I have worked for the Madera Unified School District for over 14 years, where I started in 2006 as an Accounting Technician in the Business Department. I have been exposed to all areas in the school business cycle.
The experience and education obtained in all these years opened the door for a new challenge: in 2018, I became the first Latina to be named Chief Financial Officer in Madera Unified. Along with my Business Department, we manage a $300 million budget and process around three thousand checks each month.
This new role gives me the opportunity to make financial recommendations and to be part of important decisions that impact our students: education. My goal is to protect the district:s fiscal integrity, and at the same time support the district:s Community Compact to provide our students with the best education.
I would like to share my story and inspire others to always set high goals, to focus and work hard to reach them. I BELIEVE our students can be successful and achieve big things because I am proof of it. I BELIEVE in Madera Unified.