Villagomez is GTC’s outstanding teacher of the year

Posted on Oct 19 2011
»Three other awardees recognized for their hard work, commitment
By Moneth Deposa

Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School principal Charlotte Camacho, center, poses with this year's outstanding employees of the school. From left are Support Staff of the Year awardee Ariel Narvaez, Teacher of the Year recipient Jennifer Villagomez, GTC principal Charlotte Camacho, Instructor of the Year honoree Rose Taimanao, and Teacher Aide of the Year Jennie Magofna. (Moneth G. Deposa) A mother of five was named as this year’s outstanding teacher at Gregorio T. Elementary School for her excellent performance and commitment to her profession.

Sixth grade teacher Jennifer Villagomez has been with the school for 12 years, starting out as a third grade teacher and rising through the ranks. She has already been selected twice for the Teacher of the Year recognition.

She admitted being surprised by this new honor but said she will be honored to represent her peers in the Public School System’s search for the CNMI Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012.

Villagomez completed college at the University of Hawaii and obtained her graduate degree from the Framingham University. Prior to becoming an educator, Villagomez was program manager for the Criminal Justice Planning Agency.

“There was really some kind of curiosity and drive to become a teacher so after completing my degree I decided to pursue it. Now I enjoyed watching children realize their abilities, watching them grow, and seeing their potential. It’s very fulfilling,” she told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

As a classroom teacher, Villagomez said she’s constantly monitoring the learning of her students and modifying her teaching strategies on a daily basis. “I always want to try what works and what doesn’t work. I try to come up with activities to help motivate my students to reach whatever objectives we have,” she said.

Villagomez said that teaching is so much more than the classroom setting. “As teachers, we have the privilege of touching the lives of children. They are entrusted in our care and we help develop their inner and outer selves, and our task is beyond their academics,” she said.

GTC bestowed its Instructor of the Year award to Rose Taimanao, who has been handling the school’s Chamorro/Carolinian Language Heritage Studies class for eight years now. Prior to becoming an instructor, Taimanao was also GTC’s Teacher Aide of the Year awardee. This year marks her first time to be selected for the Instructor of the Year award.

“I feel privileged and thankful and it means a lot to me. I believe that no matter what position you are in, you’ll be praised and acknowledged for all your hard work,” she said. Taimanao wants to become a classroom teacher and is completing her degree at the Northern Marianas College. She said it’s her goal to continue teaching the CCLHS program because she sees the need for it.

“It’s the foundation of language, especially for our local children. Many of our children don’t understand and speak the local language and this would make it difficult for them to learn other languages,” she said.

This year’s Teacher Aide of the Year recipient is Jennie Magofna, who is assigned to the CCLHS program. She just completed her certification and vows to obtain a degree so she could become a regular teacher. She said it’s her passion to help children, motivating her to enter the teaching profession.

Ariel Narvaez, the school’s maintenance employee, snagged once again GTC’s Support Staff of the Year award-his fourth in the 11 years that he has been with GTC. He has also been twice named PSS Support Staff of the Year.

Since he started in 2004, there is never a boring moment for this man who takes charge of the cleanliness and safety of the campus. Narvaez is described by his principal, Charlotte Camacho, as an outstanding employee who keep the campus always in order-from minor repairs, to electrical upgrades, to facility and ground maintenance, to ensuring the security of children. It is through Narvaez’s efforts that GTC saves a significant amount in its operation every year, Camacho said.

Camacho said that GTC will never be successful without the “collective efficacy” of all its personnel. GTC is among the highest performing schools in the CNMI, based on its students’ SAT-10 results.

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