CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Earlier this week, Veterans Memorial assistant principal Rolando Gonzalez died due to complications from COVID-19. Gonzalez worked for CCISD for five years, and his friends and colleagues describe him as positive and inspiring.
"He was always there to put a smile on your face, make you laugh. He just had an overall positive attitude and just kind of brightened up the room when he walked in. He was the guy that could come in and completely change the dynamic of a conversation,” Veterans Memorial principal Scott Walker said.
“He was the kind of person that when he spoke, you almost wanted to stand up straight, because a man of that integrity deserves that type of respect. There's nothing that man couldn't do if he put his mind, heart, body, and soul into it, which he always did,” Garcia Elementary principal Danny Noyola Jr. said.
Noyola Jr. met Gonzalez at a Principal Leadership Institute in 2015, they were both assistant principals with CCISD, hoping to become principals. The two didn’t often work together, but when they did, Noyola Jr. wanted to be around Gonzalez.
“Because of my experience with him, and how highly I thought of him, when the trainings would occur, I would go out to him because I wanted to be around him. I wanted to engage with him, I wanted to talk to him about his life as an administrator,” Noyola Jr. said.
Walker said Gonzalez was someone to rely on, not only for his students, but also his colleagues.
"He was an individual that would do anything to help others and to help them be successful. Mr. Gonzalez was a man that had a deep passion for his students, and would do anything for his kids. Give his shirt off his back would be something that would be true for Mr. Gonzalez, and he would go and do whatever it took for his students to be successful, and he was very loved by the students he worked closely with,” he said. “He was an individual that I leaned on a lot myself, he was a mentor to me. We are going to dearly miss him having him on our campus, he was a big part of it.”
Gonzalez leaves a legacy at Veterans Memorial, and CCISD as a whole, that people will try to emulate in his honor.
"We just hope that we can try to exemplify the positivity, the kindness, the warmth; his relationship with his friends colleagues and his coworkers. We just want to continue to exemplify some of those characteristics as we move forward,” Walker said.
“That type of individual should be in schools at all levels, he should be replicated everywhere. Our world, our schools, our community would be better with more Mr. Gonzalez's in this world,” Noyola Jr. said