STA Alum & Classroom Teacher
Jessica Salas began teaching in August 2019, but she already had a lot of familiarity with STA. Over 15 years ago she walked through the same front doors for her first day of kindergarten. Jessica reflected on those early years, “I remember having Spanish classes, being connected with the older kids on the bus. I felt taken care of. Ms. Ana Gonzalez was especially caring and helpful.”
At the end of fifth grade Jessica transitioned to San Miguel Middle School. San Miguel was one of several school options presented at STA to our late elementary scholars. STA’s middle school did not open until 2010-11 and was not an option. She appreciated the Hispanic community at San Miguel.
At San Miguel she attended, Saint Mary’s University’s annual two- week summer academic boot camp, a program designed for first generation college students, of St. Mary’s partner high schools. Upon leaving San Miguel Jessica chose to attend Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, attracted by their familiar Hispanic community and work experience opportunities. From there, a full-ride scholarship, and past experience at St. Mary’s made for an easy choice for where to go to college. Over the years she stayed connected to STA with occasional visits and to STA alumni through social media. In particular, Viridianna Gallegos Menchaca, encouraged her educational successes. The two later became coworkers at STA’s Summer Freedom School program in 2019, the summer prior to her first year of teaching.
At university she considered her field of study, “Studying to become a doctor or lawyer seemed like possible career paths, but teaching was always in the back of my mind, memories of STA and the teachers there, their kindness and how they helped. Visiting STA later I realized I wanted to connect in that way and be the kind of teacher who remembers their students.” Ultimately Jessica credits her success to her parents for their undying support and inspiration.
STA is deeply grateful to have such a talented STA alum and first year teacher join our team! We look forward to supporting Jessica in the future through professional development, coaching, a teacher career ladder, STA’s professional networks, a robust benefits package, and responsive human resources.