From Colombia to the Heart of SSH Frisco
If you’ve ever stepped foot into the Spanish Schoolhouse Frisco school, Director Beatriz Gómez needs no introduction! She is the spry and upbeat leader of the Frisco school who started with SSH the day we opened our first preschool doors and never left.
“I love this school! It’s my home,” says Bea. A native of Medellín, Colombia, Bea moved to Texas with her family in 1996. While she enjoyed living in Texas, she always felt a piece of her heart was back home in Colombia. By chance, she met one of the Spanish Schoolhouse founders, Josie Gerber, in 2002 through their children. Josie was looking for teachers for the new language-immersion school and asked Bea if she was interested. She jumped at the chance to teach children her language and beautiful culture!
A Glance Back at the Beginning
Of the early days of SSH, Bea says, “We started very simply with a basic curriculum and the Spanish-immersion concept, but we had a whole lot of love for the children!” She co-taught with one of the other founders, Victoria Williams, whom Bea says taught her everything she knows about classroom management. Over the past 15 years, she has watched the curriculum develop and the program expand, but the love, language, and cultural learning have never changed.
Throughout her career, Bea says she has learned so much from her students. She has discovered how each child is unique in the way that he/she absorbs the material. Bea feels that, as teachers, it is our job to observe students’ learning styles and work with them to help each child reach their highest potential. Reaching and teaching children is the most important part of what we do!
Reminiscing about her favorite memories, Bea recalls the early years of the shows, with all of the classes together in a big room at the original church location. There was no stage and the teachers danced with the children, connecting through music and culture! She also fondly recalls how the school has always felt like a family. The staff would often get together to socialize, helping many who were far from their home countries to find a sense of family here.
Asked about her favorite Colombian traditions, Bea tells about the many traditions of Christmas. It is a family-focused time, with relatives gathering around the table, preparing for the birth of Jesus. They would pray novenas (nine-day prayers) and eat, eat, eat! Some of Bea’s favorite Christmas treats were Colombian Tamales, Natilla, and Buñuelos. Click here for a few of her favorite recipes!
Bea can’t imagine not working at Spanish Schoolhouse. She feels that the staff, parents, and children are her U.S. family. She hopes SSH will always maintain the quality and warmth that make it so special. “This is the place where I am happy,” she says. And it is the place where she has helped to make learning a happy experience for over 2000 Frisco-area children over the past 15 years!
We are so thankful to have made that chance connection so many years ago. Bea has brought endless energy, dedication, and leadership to our SSH Frisco team, and we’ll always appreciate her contributions to Spanish Schoolhouse.