My story begins in the small Texas border town of Eagle Pass. I come from a long line of educators that include: parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. These people in my life were the driving force that led me to become a teacher. It was watching the impact they were making on students that influenced me to pursue education.
Growing up, I had many opportunities afforded to me by my parents. They saw the importance of exposure to the arts, traveling, literature, and giving back to our community. When I was 9 years old, we left our home on one border and moved to a small community on the border of Alaska and Canada when my father who worked for US Customs was promoted to a supervisory position. We were stationed at a remote Port where my brother and I were home-schooled by my mother. We loved the the experience but missed our family in Texas and eventually moved back. My parents made sure I was able to travel all over the United States and the World to understand and appreciate other cultures and people. I was also taught to be proud of my multiculturalism, from the Mexican culture of my mother to the Lebanese of my paternal grandmother.
I learned very early on the importance of giving back and helping others. Every year, my family would load up a truck full of toys in sacks that my mother had purchased and we would accompany my father, who was dressed as Santa Claus, to deliver Christmas cheer to families in need. Growing up with examples like this, helped shape the person that I am today and the values I try to instill in my students.
My parents supported my endeavors and helped to mold my talents in any way possible. After graduating high school, attending Southwest Texas Junior College, I still had the urge to use my creativity and started my own community magazine. I wrote the articles, took the photos, designed the pages and even distributed it to small towns in the region. I’d later transfer to the University of the Incarnate Word where I continued my love of journalism and graphic design by earning a BA in Mass Communications. The skills I learned in college allowed me to work with several recording artists by creating promotional materials, writing press releases, and even designing the artwork for Grammy nominated albums.
Even though I enjoyed where my degree had taken me, I still didn’t feel like I was doing what I was destined to do. I began to volunteer in various family members’ classrooms helping with reading groups, science experiments, art activities and it was there that I knew I had to get my teaching certification. I attended the University of Texas at San Antonio to receive my certification and quickly started with Southwest ISD.
All of my teaching career was at Sky Harbour Elementary. I started as a 2nd grade teacher then became the Fine Arts teacher. I was responsible for teaching Visual Arts, Music, and Theatre to all students in Pre-K through 5th grades. Being a fine arts teacher allowed me to expose my students to the world, it’s many cultures, and help them find the creativity inside them. My students have very little exposure to the arts at home, so I work hard to give them every opportunity possible. From studying Picasso’s “Girl With The Ponytail” to watching the Nutcracker Ballet and listening to Pavarotti’s grand vocals, my students will have a well rounded understanding of many types of art. Sharing experiences like this with them also allowed for their curiosity to formulate questions they may have and ideas and connections they see in their own lives and community.
In the summer of 2022, I moved from my home at Sky Harbour of 18 years, to our district’s central office where I am currently the Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator as well as the director of the Penguin Project, a unique theatrical experience for students with special needs.