SPAIN — A beloved Kentucky teacher won’t be teaching Spanish in his Pineville classroom this school year.

In May, Spectrum News 1 shared Ernesto Garcia’s story where the Pineville community rallied behind the Spanish teacher facing deportation.

What You Need To Know

  • Ernesto Garcia wasn't only a beloved teacher in Pineville, he was also their only Spanish teacher

  • Garcia returned to Spain with his wife early July

  • His immigration paperwork went unresolved after many attempts

  • He said it's unlikely he'll return back to the United States

With no change in their legal status or an extension, the family returned back home to Spain this summer.

“It was nice but at the same time, sad, you know,” Garcia said in a Zoom call from a patio in Spain. “I am speaking from Asturias in North of Spain. It’s a town called Gijon."

The former Spanish teacher and his wife arrived in Spain early July. His absence may come as a surprise to some students, he said.

“The last days [in Pineville], I still found some students in the streets because we were walking around and everything, and they say, ‘OK, I will see you next year’, ‘I will see you next’. I say ‘No, I'm sorry that is not possible.’ Yes, they were, they were still awaiting, expecting to have me there,” Garcia said.

Before the school year ended, students and the community in Pineville spearheaded an online petition to keep their beloved teacher and his family here in the United States.

“It was like a perfect fit. Yes, everybody was nice, various, everybody was trying to push to keep us there,” Garcia said. “And then when leaving a lot of love, a lot of, oh wow, it was very touching yes.”

He's now spent less than a month in his home country Spain, adjusting to a slower lifestyle with adventure.

“Yes, and everyday you got something to celebrate,” Garcia said. “Yes, and you are enjoying food, fish that you don't have available there.”

Yet, Garcia’s heart is still back here in Kentucky as the kids get ready for another school year.

“I miss, I miss that the students, I miss my students, I miss also my colleagues and everybody around,” Garcia said.

The Spanish teacher said it is highly unlikely that he’ll be able to return to the states. It all depends on sponsorship and reopening his case.

We reached out to the Pineville school district. They said plans for teaching Spanish this school arev all online right now, as they’re facing a Spanish teacher shortage.