Dr. José A. Flores - Trustee
Dr. José A. Flores was born in Weslaco, Texas, to Concepcion Moreno Flores and Rosa Garcia Flores.
His family came to Michigan as migrant farmworkers in 1955. His early years were spent developing a strong work ethic and developing an appreciation for education. During the school year, he attended Grand Rapids Public Schools and vividly recalls summers he spent working on farms in neighboring towns harvesting fruits and vegetables. His experiences working in the fields, in restaurants, and factories in and around Grand Rapids convinced him to pursue a better life through education.
José Flores grew up in the Grandville Ave. S.W. area and attended Maplewood Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Burton Jr. High, and graduated from Central High School in 1971. After graduating he enrolled in college and earned a Bachelor of Education Degree from Eastern Michigan University and returned to Grand Rapids to teach U.S. History, Government, and Chicano/Boricua Studies at Central High School in 1976. He firmly believes that the knowledge of America’s racial/ethnic history is the pathway to self-awareness and positive self-esteem. He was later promoted to serve GRPS as an Assistant Principal at Union High School in 1985. He served as Assistant Director of Compensatory Education/Director for Bilingual, Migrant, Immigrant, Refugee, and Native American Education Programs for the next 13 years.
Dr. Flores earned his master's degree in Education and a Bilingual Endorsement from Grand Valley State University in 1979. He holds an earned Doctorate in Education focused on Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State University awarded in 1996.
While serving as a Central Office Administrator, he brought six national excellence projects to Grand Rapids Public Schools, developed a model technology-supported Bilingual Education Program, began two–way computer distance learning, expanded the use of computer-based learning and created a clinical school for professional development which enabled teachers to earn their bilingual endorsements through Wayne State University. He served as President of the Michigan Association for Bilingual Education. He also served the U.S. Department of Education as a Consultant/Grant Reader during this time.
Dr. Flores returned to the classroom teaching a variety of classes for the next eight years. He taught U.S. History, Government, Pre-Law, Sociology and other classes at Central High School, Ottawa Hills, Southwest Community Campus, and Burton Middle School after leaving administration. Having completed 30 years of service he retired from GRPS in July of 2014.
Dr. Flores is also credited as cofounding the Hispanic Center for Western Michigan, the Hispanic Festival, The Community Voice/La Voz Magazine, and La Familia Grocery/Convenience Store. His community activism helped bring needed interpreters to the emergency services units in police/fire/medical care units of Grand Rapids, and he was a chief advocate for providing court interpreters for persons unable to fully understand English.
As a community advocate, he led efforts to improve U.S. Decennial Census counts, engage youth in summer employment opportunities, and worked on committees to reduce drop-out rates among minority youth. While volunteering at the Hispanic Center he founded several youth employment programs including 70,001 Ltd. Summer Youth Employment Project, Project CEMI Mural Art Project, Community Home Paint/Repair Projects, Academics Homework House, and a Youth Leadership Project in conjunction with the National Council of La Raza.
Dr. Flores believes that our school leaders must ensure transparency in policy and practice. Our actions must guarantee school safety and advance an academic culture with highly qualified/certified and effective staff working at every level of GRPS. Community confidence in our schools will grow when we are consistent in our actions!