Born the oldest child of a family of migrant workers, Dr. Gallegos worked much of his early life in the agricultural fields of Texas, California, and Colorado. Despite the demands of working in fields, Dr. Gallegos actively pursued an education, which led to his graduation from Brownsville High School, followed by a college education that earned him a Bachelor's Degree from Pan American University, and a Master's and Ph.D from East Texas University in Commerce, Texas.
Dr. Gallegos admits he enjoyed school and that it was easy for him, but becoming a teacher was like many events in his life, "just by accident." During his undergraduate days, he was hired by his former high school Principal, Homer Hanna, and began his remarkable educational odyssey at J.T. Canales Elementary School.
In 1965, Dr. Gallegos became the coordinator for Head Start and he opened the first school designed exclusively for migrant students, the current campus of Castañeda Elementary. His migrant campus was built with portable buildings and became the first school in the district to be financed with federal funds, the first with a full-time nurse on staff, the first to utilize teacher aides, and the first to include a social worker. The campus began the school year late as migrant students arrived and utilized a longer school day with more intensive instruction.
In Dallas ISD, Dr. Gallegos aided the United Stated Federal Court in implementing a desegregation plan, which he said, "was a very difficult job," but was rewarding and taught him the skill of conflict management.
Edinburg ISD then lured the Rio Grande Valley native closer to home to a smaller school district. Elias Longoria, former Edinburg ISD Board of Trustees President, said Dr. Gallegos "was the best superintendent we ever had." After serving until 1982 in Edinburg, Dr. Gallegos took his education and his experience into the classroom at the University of Texas at Brownsville and prepared future administrators, many of whom now fill administrative positions within BISD.
In 1993, following another appointment as an assistant superintendent in Dallas ISD, Dr. Gallegos became the executive director of International Educational Services, Inc., in Los Fresnos, Texas. Unwilling to retire, Dr. Gallegos continues in that position and works with his son to help boys and girls who arrived illegally into the United States. "I'm an educator, so we're going to teach them," he said.
Dr. Ruben Gallegos Elementary
Gallegos Elementary, opened in 2001, is named for Dr. Ruben Gallegos, a child of migrant workers, who went on to open Brownsville’s Castañeda Elementary, the first school designed exclusively for migrant students. Gallegos served stints in Dallas ISD eventually returning to the Rio Grande Valley as the Superintendent of Edinburg ISD and as a professor at the University of Texas Brownsville where he prepared future school administrators. In 1993, Dr. Gallegos became the executive director of International Educational Services, Inc. in Los Fresnos, assisting children who arrive illegally into the United States. Lucy Green was the school’s first principal.