I was born in El Paso, TX to parents of immigrants. My father was from Parral, Chihuahua and my mother is from Belen del Refugio, Jalisco. I am the oldest of two brothers and three sisters.
I started elementary school as part of the first “Head Start” program. I entered school as a Spanish monolingual. As a first-generation Mexican American, I struggled in school, namely because I needed to acquire and learn English. There were some attempts to eradicate my Spanish, but I held out. It was a very trying and dynamic time to grow up in, a time of “English-Only” and yet try to maintain my identity as Mexican because my Spanish as not adequate either. I defined the profile of “English Language Learner.”
High School was possibly the best time of my learning. I encountered teachers who cared and supported me to excel. After high school, I attended the College of Santa Fe. I was the first in my family to attain a bachelor’s degree. I began my education career when I returned to El Paso in the Gadsden Independent School District. I began as an Elementary Bilingual teacher…I was BIG happy! Five years later, my principal calls me with an ultimatum, to further my studies into a Master of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Two years later, I graduated and became an adjunct faculty member at El Paso Community College. I taught at the college until 2018. Currently, I continue to work for Gadsden ISD. I’m in my 42nd year as an educator.
I have been blessed with a beautiful wife, Natalie and my son, Dominic. Along the way, I have tried to make Bilingualism and Biliteracy for ALL, the hallmark of my career. I was selected as the 2002-03 District Teacher of the Year and NM State finalist. I was honored to receive the NMABE Henry Pasqual Award in 2015. But my most endearing accomplishment was to be awarded an “honorary” doctorate from the University of the Bilingual Funds of Knowledge by my district colleagues. ¡Arriba los maestros bilingües!