For Nimitz alumnae Mikaela Jauregui and Jennifer Garcia, their dream of being a teacher is closer than ever thanks to the Irving ISD I Am Next initiative. Through I Am Next, high school students across the district receive training and real classroom experience to prepare them as  the next generation of Irving ISD educators.

Jauregui, class of 2019, and Garcia, class of 2018, first discover their passion for teaching in their introductory education courses at Nimitz. Early on in their high school careers, teachers like Lavonne Carpenter encouraged them to participate in I Am Next and other teaching-focused extracurriculars.

“I have always loved working with kids. When I discovered the program and my teachers convinced me to sign up for more education classes, I was hooked,” says Jauregui. “I love getting to work with students and see their joy, it’s very satisfying.”

I Am Next was the perfect opportunity for both to gain hands on experience and invest in their future.

“I liked being part of I Am Next because it gave me a greater sense of what I wanted to do in the future,” says Garcia. “I knew I was interested in something related to science, but I Am Next really solidified that I wanted to become a teacher.”

Jauregui is currently a student at North Lake College, and plans to transfer to a four-year university to finish her undergraduate studies. When she’s not in class, she continues investing in her future by serving as a guest educator in Irving ISD. 

“There’s a comfort having graduated from Irving ISD and now getting to come back to the district I grew up in. It’s a full circle, getting the opportunity to teach the next generation of students,” says Jauregui.

Garcia, also a student at North Lake, plans to transfer to the University of Texas at Arlington to complete her undergraduate degree. After graduation, Garcia hopes to return to her alma mater as an educator.

“My dream really is to go back to Nimitz to teach,” says Garcia. “I love the sense of community we have here in Irving.”