Linda Lopez Marsh led Brackenridge High School, was mentor to students, educators
Linda Lopez Marsh, a former principal at Brackenridge High School, spent 32 years as a professional educator, a role she exemplified long after her official retirement from teaching.
Marsh, 65, died from cancer May 15.
Born in Poteet, Marsh grew up in Edinburg. Her parents, Andres and Olivia Lopez, both worked in the education field, inspiring her career track early on.
Upon graduating from high school, Marsh attended Pan American University in McAllen, where she obtained her undergraduate degree, and went on to earn a graduate degree in education from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville).
In the early 1980s, she began working in San Antonio as a special education teacher at Poe Middle School and Highlands High School, and in 1994, she took on the role of special education supervisor. In 1999, she was assigned to Jefferson High School as an instructional guide, and in 2001, Marsh became principal at Lowell Middle School.
The high point of Marsh’s educational career began in 2004, when she became principal of Brackenridge, where she remained until her retirement. She placed an emphasis on college admissions for her students.
“She would take kids from her high school and show them universities. She made sure that her students could see what was out there for them,” daughter-in-law Rachel Marsh said.
In 2007, 86 percent of Brackenridge’s graduating senior class were enrolled in a two- or four-year college at the time of graduation, something Marsh saw as a huge accomplishment.
“She always wanted her students to know that they could push themselves to be what they wanted to be no matter the circumstances,” Rachel Marsh said.
The ways Marsh would make sure that her students had every opportunity to succeed included making house calls to children who were truant or at risk of dropping out, doing all she could to ensure that they’d be back at school as soon as possible.
A story in the San Antonio Express-News in 2008 documented some of these door-to-door visits, in which Marsh, accompanied by then-Mayor Phil Hardberger, attempted to resolve any immediate issues keeping students from attending class, from lack of school uniforms to challenges with certain subjects.
For her years of service and dedication, Marsh was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
Throughout her career, Marsh would help fellow teachers and administrators advance themselves in any way she could, often taking on a mentorship role and providing advice as needed.
“I’ll never forget one of the biggest lessons she taught me. … ‘Don’t get distracted by all the pretty, colorful turkeys on the wall. Make sure the kids can read.’” educator Chris Castro, who once worked at Brackenridge, said in a Facebook post memorializing Marsh.
After her retirement, Marsh remained active in the teaching world, working as a consultant for other teachers.
Her career successes aside, she was most proud of son Richie Marsh and his family.
“Richie was in the Air Force, and everywhere we were stationed, she would come visit,” Rachel Marsh said. “From Colorado to Cheyenne to D.C., she’d come see us multiple times.”
Marsh would spend a lot of time with her two grandsons, Diego and Joaquin, taking them on little adventures when they were on summer vacations.
“She was an avid reader, and one summer, she and the boys spent time setting up and organizing her personal library in her house,” Rachel Marsh said.
In addition to collecting books, Marsh loved to shop for antiques, frequenting many local shops. She decorated her home with the objects and furniture she collected over the years.
“Linda was a customer at Off My Rocker but turned into a great friend,” said Jo Lynn Swint, the owner of the store on Olmos, in a public Facebook post.