Gina Vilches

In a unanimous 7-0 vote last Thursday, the Ricardo Independent School District Board of Trustees approved hiring Rockport Fulton ISD assistant principal Gina Vilches as the new principal for Ricardo Middle School.

“I’m excited and I can’t wait,” Vilches said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m ready to start.”

Vilches takes over the position from Cynthia Flores, who served as the Ricardo Middle School principal for 10 years before leaving the district earlier this year.

Originally from Corpus Christi, Vilches said she has lived in the South Texas region all of her life. She said Kingsville is a special place to her, as it was where she attended college as well as where she met her husband, Albert.

“He was born and raised in Kingsville,” she said. “And it was where our heart was, so we were looking for an opportunity to move back to the area.”

Vilches holds a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, both from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She worked as a middle and high school mathematics teacher for nine years before moving to counseling.

While working for three years as a school guidance counselor with Rockport-Fulton ISD, Vilches said she earned her principal certification online through Lamar University, then transitioned to assistant principal positions at both the middle and high schools.

“I just finished my second year as a high school assistant principal,” she said.

Vilches said Rockport-Fulton High School Principal Scott Rogers was a great mentor who had prepared her to take on a future principal role.

“He gave me a lot of hands-on experience,” she said. “Anything that he’d be dealing with as a principal, he brought me in on it, so I really got my feet wet these past two years.”

Vilches said she was excited about working with the Ricardo ISD, which she said has “a fantastic reputation.” She said she is looking forward to getting to know the students and parents of the district, as well as working to promote the school and help it grow.

“They are doing a great job academically, and I want to see what I can do to help continue that,” Vilches said. “Ricardo is a fantastic school district with fantastic students.”

Vilches said two of her three children would also be attending Ricardo ISD in the 2019-20 school year.

“My son will be in eighth grade, and my daughter will be going to first (grade),” she said. “My older son is already in high school, but we haven’t decided where he’ll be going yet.”

Ricardo ISD Superintendent Vita Canales said she was happy that the school board approved hiring Vilches.

“I think she will be a great fit for our district,” Canales said.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at or (361) 221-0251.

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