Automotive Program Revs Up

Stafford Automotive Teacher David “Red” Garner first learned about Stafford Municipal School District when he met then-Superintendent Dr. Gary Rotan in 2001.

Red was working for a local automotive dealership, and he worked out a program with Dr. Rotan where Stafford High students could intern at the dealership.

Fast forward to 2003, and Red was working as an automotive teacher for Stafford MSD. Since then, approximately 92 students from the SMSD Automotive Program have interned for auto dealerships in the Fort Bend area. Many have become automotive professionals, and some have become automotive instructors themselves.

Through the first eight years of the SMSD Automotive Program, they rented a garage in town until the College & Career Center was built.

For Red, who grew up in Tuscaloosa County in the 1940s and 1950s, becoming involved in Stafford MSD was all about giving back.

“People donated their time and effort to me when I was young, and I feel like I’m giving back,” Red said.

Red had a mentor in Joe Mott, a Tuscaloosa auto dealership owner, when he was a teenager. After moving to Houston in the 1950s, Red worked for auto racing legend, A.J. Foyt, managing his automotive dealerships in the Houston area.

Last week, Red was honored as a #YOU Teacher.

“I was really surprised,” Red said. “It was a big honor. I didn’t think I’d get anything like that. It’s nice to be recognized.”