Longtime elementary school custodian becomes teacher at the same school after earning her GED
WACO, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) – A longtime elementary school custodian has traded in her cleaning supplies for teaching supplies after going back to school for her GED while working full-time as the head custodian at the same school where she is now teaching.
Isabel Navarro, 35, is in the first weeks of her new job as a teacher’s assistant at Spring Valley Elementary in Waco, Texas where she has worked since 2016 cleaning classrooms.
She said teaching is a dream come true.
“When I was a child, I always wanted to be a teacher or a nurse,” Isabel said. “And I started working at 15 years old to help my parents at home and now I can finish my education and follow my dream.”
Navarro grew up in Zacatecas, Mexico and dropped out of school as a teenager to get a job and help support her family.
She moved to the United States in 2009 after meeting her husband.
Navarro worked in housekeeping at Baylor for a couple of years before starting her job cleaning at Woodway Elementary in 2013.
She transferred to Spring Valley Elementary in 2016 where she’s been a fixture as the lead custodian since.
Navarro loved interacting with the students as a custodian, but she really wanted to make more of an impact in the classroom.
She made the decision to obtain her GED which she said was a difficult feat since English is her second language.
Spring Valley Elementary School Principal Kappy Edwards said watching Isabel go to school while being a mom and holding down a full-time job was inspiring.
“I am immensely proud of Isabel’s determination and commitment to furthering her education, obtaining her GED and transitioning into a paraprofessional role within Spring Valley,” Edwards said. “This achievement, especially while working full-time as our head custodian, and managing a family with three children, showcases her admirable dedication and serves as an inspiring example for others.”
Navarro received her GED at a ceremony in June. Her last day as a custodian was July 28 before starting her new role as an aide at Spring Valley on July 31.
“It’s been good -- so, so good,” Navarro said. “Every day is something new to learn not just for the kids but also for me, too, and I’m very happy to come in this way and share with my teachers and principals. They’ve been supportive for all my journey in my life.”
She’s happy with her new position and enjoys making a difference. Navarro would eventually like to earn her teaching certificate and have a classroom of her own.
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