Meet February’s Volunteer of the Month, Norma Vega

February may be short, but there’s a long list of things to celebrate during the month. It’s the perfect time to show appreciation for a passionate educator. So, how about celebrating ATPE member Norma Vega? She’s our next Volunteer of the Month!
 
For our Volunteer of the Month recognition program, we choose one member each month who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to ATPE and public education. We look for volunteers who exhibit outstanding leadership and tireless efforts, and we’re relying on YOU for nominees.
 
Meet February’s Volunteer of the Month, Norma Vega of La Joya ATPE!
 
What is your job title? Where do you work? How long have you been in this role?
I am currently the reading specialist at Memorial Middle School in La Joya ISD. This is my second year as reading specialist. Prior to this assignment, I taught seventh-grade Texas history for 16 years at my present campus. Before that, I spent 12 years at Arturo Cantu Elementary in Mission, Texas. I am in my 30th year of teaching, and I’m excited and loving it as much as my first year of teaching.
 
How long have you been an ATPE member? Why did you choose ATPE?
I am very fortunate to have been introduced to ATPE in my first year of teaching, and I’m so glad that a colleague steered me in the right direction. Upon looking at all ATPE had to offer 30 years ago, I was sold and joined right away. I am privileged to have seen the many changes in our organization and how far we have come. I look forward to being a member long past retirement because I believe in what ATPE continues to do for education, the children of Texas, and the protection and empowerment we get as educators. ATPE is truly our ally and our voice.
 
What is the most important thing you wish someone had told you when you started out in your career?
The most important thing I wish someone had told me when I started out in my teaching career is that it’s about the passion. You are not just the instructor; you are the role model, the nurse, the counselor, and many times the parent to your students. What you say and how you act around them makes a huge impact on their daily lives and often on their future. No one told me that I would laugh and cry with my students, that I would want to protect and defend them, that they would become my children. In that one year they are in your class, you bond with them, they touch your heart, and each one leaves a mark on your life.
 
What is your biggest hope for the future of Texas public schools?
My biggest hope for the future of Texas public schools is that at the state level we continue to put the children of Texas first in funding, curriculum, and safety in schools. Our children are as diverse a population as you can get. They are entrusted to us, and they deserve the best Texas can give them so that all can achieve their utmost potential.
 
What is the most important thing Texas educators can do for their profession?
The most important thing Texas educators can do for our profession is continue to advocate for our students and to never stop learning. We must become informed about our profession and legislation governing our schools, our rights, and those of our students. Most importantly, we must invest our time in continuously improving our knowledge and seek out innovations that will challenge our students’ learning.
 
Want to learn more about this program or have questions about how you can be an ATPE volunteer? Email our volunteer program coordinator, Anna Belle Burleson, at aburleson@atpe.org.
 
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