Hilda Gartzke, Dahlstrom Middle School Principal, is retiring from Hays CISD at the end of the current school year.
Gartzke started at Hays CISD at a counselor at Hays High School in 1992, although she first remembers seeing the district at a Hays Rebels game in the early 1970s. Living in Austin at the time, she rode out with friends to the game and admits, “I wondered, ‘Where in the world are we?’ when we got out here!”
The size of Hays CISD has changed over the years and Gartzke has seen much of it firsthand.
“When I began here, we had about 1,200 students at Hays High School.” she said.
Since then, Hays High School has grown to nearly 2,000 students and Hays CISD has added another high school, Lehman High School, with nearly 1,800 students.
Gartzke attended public school in Austin and went on to attend the University of Texas as a music major. She is proud of having played in the renowned Longhorn Band.
She started out as a band director in Austin CISD, moved to Waco for four years and then joined the staff at Austin High School. After getting her master’s degree in counseling, she began working as a school counselor in 1989, coming to Hays High School in that position in 1992.
She filled the job at Dahstrom when its principal, Elsa Hinojosa, became principal of Lehman.
Said Hinojosa, “Hilda Gartzke always put students first in her decision-making. In many ways, she was a counselor who happened to office in the principal’s office. We were fortunate to have her on Team Hays CISD.”
After retiring, Gartzke and her husband plan to travel and enjoy their first grandchild who is due as the summer begins.
Gartke’s viewpoint on her experience at Dahstrom is positive.
“Middle school students are awesome,” she said. “We have the chance to make a huge difference in a child’s life during the three years of middle school. I have enjoyed seeing the students enter as 10 or 11-year olds, and leave us three years later looking so much bigger, taller, and older.”
Her comments for the Dahlstrom staff show her pride in their accomplishments.
“Dahlstrom has a reputation for excellence, and it comes from the awesome staff we have that works so very hard every day,” she said. “That won’t change. Keep the attitude of excellence we have developed.”
As for the Dahlstrom Middle School students, she gave the Mustangs few but pithy parting words: “Make me proud.”Email | Print