Irving ISD has various Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs available to students – from cosmetology to veterinary science and much more. Michelle Gomez is an Irving ISD graduate and just one of many CTE success stories. Gomez grew up in Irving and attended Kinkeade Early Childhood, Townley Elementary, Bowie Middle and Nimitz High Schools. During her time as a student, she was always heavily involved in fine arts – specifically being a member of the drumline and color guard in high school. This was also when she made the decision to jumpstart her career by enrolling in the education pathway at Nimitz.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to pretend my stuffed animals were students, and I’d act like I was teaching them,” says Gomez. “By being a part of the education pathway at Nimitz, not only was I able to get a head start in my career, but it was such an eye-opening experience and confirmation that this is what I was meant to do.”

Gomez learned under the direction of Lavonne Carpenter, who still serves as the education CTE instructor at Nimitz. She credits Carpenter for being instrumental in her growth as a student and educator – teaching important work and life skills such as time management, being detail oriented and the importance of having empathy. When initially enrolling in the program, Gomez stated that she had no idea what she was getting into but left with a plethora of knowledge.

“Not only did I graduate with more knowledge about the education field, but because of the program and Ms. Carpenter, I also left feeling more prepared for college,” adds Gomez. “Ms. Carpenter took time to get to know her students, and she has a personality that’s hard to forget. She had a great impact on me.”

Through the education pathway, students get the opportunity to gain real-world experience by shadowing teachers in the district. Gomez has fond memories of her time shadowing Britain Elementary School teacher Maria Jaquez Gonzalez, who she says taught her how to work with smaller groups of students.

Two weeks prior to her graduation from Nimitz in 2019, Gomez gave birth to her son, who’s now 4-years-old and a student at Townley Elementary School. She says that throughout this journey, he has remained her inspiration and motivation. Gomez is currently working towards completing her college degree and serves as a third-grade bilingual math and science teacher at Townley through the district’s temporary campus support program. For her, it’s extra special to serve at the same elementary school she attended as a student.

“I wanted to pay it forward at Townley especially because a lot of the teachers I had are still here, and I want to show them that I’m a product of their hard work,” says Gomez.