Focus Artesia Spring 2021 | Tate Branch Success Makers

Headers2020-Success-Makers

Students can write a Successory Note to any school employee that has helped them in some way or done something nice for them. The student turns the note in to their teacher or school office. The notes are carbon copies so the principal takes the original and turns it in to the Administration Office. The carbon copy is given to the teacher so that he/she can read the note. The original notes that are taken to the Administration Office are put in a container and once a month they randomly draw one note to select the “Success Maker.” The winner receives $500, a plaque, and a dozen roses (for ladies) or a “manly” item (for men).

August – Sally Fodge

sally fodge

Reading Teacher

Yucca Elementary

I was born and raised in Artesia, NM and am a graduate of Artesia High School. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern New Mexico University Portales and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University. At this time, I have 25 ½ years of teaching experience.

My favorite thing about being a teacher is the relationships developed with my students (both current and past). It is rewarding to see students find their individual talents and strengths, watching them grow during their education, and seeing how they use what they have learned, not only academically but also about themselves in the world. As a teacher, I am afforded a front-row seat. How great is that!

I’m a mom to Desarae Pitts, Joshua Fodge, and Sammy Fodge and a grandma to Raegen and Bentley Pitts.

September – Pam Willever

September 2020 Success Maker Pam Willever

1st Grade Teacher
Hermosa Elementary

I was born and grew up in Carlsbad and am a 1975 graduate of Carlsbad High School. I attended NMSU in 1975 and 1976. At that time, I married and moved to New Orleans, LA where my children were born. After a few years, I returned to Carlsbad and started classes at the branch of NMSU in Carlsbad while also picking up a few classes at CSW in Hobbs. In 1989, I finished a degree in Elementary Education at NMSU in Las Cruces. I began my teaching career in 1990 at Hermosa, under Mr. Vest, as a special education teacher for one year in a resource class. Because I was living in Carlsbad at the time, I took a job at Alta Vista Middle School where I taught 6th grade science. After spending eight years at Alta Vista, I landed a position in Loving, NM where I spent two years as a math teacher. In 1999, I remarried and joined my husband in Artesia. Unfortunately, I could not secure a teaching position in Artesia, so I took a job in Roswell at Military Heights where I taught 4th grade for nine years. In 2009, I was finally able to get a job working under Hermosa’s principal at the time, Paula Menefee. This is my 13th year in 1st grade at Hermosa which totals 30 years in education. I loved them all.

In 30 years, I learned so much from the kids and my colleagues at all the different places I taught, however, I have to admit 1st grade is my favorite. I love how the little ones learn so much and I love that I get to witness their growth during the year. It is very gratifying to work with educators who, in my opinion, are the most dedicated group of professionals. We all love “our” kids and want what is best for them. My husband, Mark, and I like to go fishing and camping. I have three grown children and seven grandchildren. My son lives in Portland, Oregon, and my two daughters and their families live in Las Cruces.

October - Marsha Molina

Marsha Molina

Reading Intervention Teacher

Roselawn Elementary

I was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming and moved to Wink, Texas shortly after that where I attended school until the 2nd grade. We then moved to Artesia when my dad started working at Navajo Refining. It was great to grow up in Artesia because we have lots of family here. I graduated from Artesia High School in 1996. Go Bulldogs! Then I graduated from Eastern New Mexico University Portales in May of 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. I later went back to school at Eastern New Mexico University Portales and graduated with a Masters of Education in Pedagogy & Learning in May 2008. This is the beginning of my 20th year in education. I taught for three years in El Paso at Crosby Elementary, 1 ½ years at Hagerman Municipal Schools in the elementary school and 14 ½ years with Artesia Public Schools. I worked at Hermosa Elementary and then Roselawn Elementary for 13 years. Seventeen years were spent in special education. Teaching in the Inclusion Setting, Pull-Out Programs, and Self-Contained Classroom were a part of that experience. For the last two years, I have been the Reading Intervention teacher at Roselawn.

Building relationships with my students is my favorite thing about being a teacher. I love the interactions we have and seeing the learning happening. Seeing their excitement when they really get something, those “ah ha” moments and the pride they feel when accomplishing something, is really special. I love to see them excited about learning.

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Jeffrey Molina, who works at Holly Frontier Company – Navajo Refining Company as a Training Coordinator. We have two beautiful daughters, Miranda who is a junior at Artesia High School and Jema who is a 6th grader at Artesia Intermediate School.

I am just so grateful to the Artesia Public Schools and the Written in Red Foundation for everything they do for all of us, especially our students. It was an honor to be nominated and I am thankful for everyone who works with me. We could not accomplish such great things without all of us.

November - Tejay Zuniga

November Success Maker Tejay Zuniga

Teacher’s Assistant

Artesia Junior High School

I was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming and moved to Wink, Texas shortly after that where I attended school until the 2nd grade. We then moved to Artesia when my dad started working at Navajo Refining. It was great to grow up in Artesia because we have lots of family here. I graduated from Artesia High School in 1996. Go Bulldogs! Then I graduated from Eastern New Mexico University Portales in May of 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. I later went back to school at Eastern New Mexico University Portales and graduated with a Masters of Education in Pedagogy & Learning in May 2008. This is the beginning of my 20th year in education. I taught for three years in El Paso at Crosby Elementary, 1 ½ years at Hagerman Municipal Schools in the elementary school and 14 ½ years with Artesia Public Schools. I worked at Hermosa Elementary and then Roselawn Elementary for 13 years. Seventeen years were spent in special education. Teaching in the Inclusion Setting, Pull-Out Programs, and Self-Contained Classroom were a part of that experience. For the last two years, I have been the Reading Intervention teacher at Roselawn.

Building relationships with my students is my favorite thing about being a teacher. I love the interactions we have and seeing the learning happening. Seeing their excitement when they really get something, those “ah ha” moments and the pride they feel when accomplishing something, is really special. I love to see them excited about learning.

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Jeffrey Molina, who works at Holly Frontier Company – Navajo Refining Company as a Training Coordinator. We have two beautiful daughters, Miranda who is a junior at Artesia High School and Jema who is a 6th grader at Artesia Intermediate School.

I am just so grateful to the Artesia Public Schools and the Written in Red Foundation for everything they do for all of us, especially our students. It was an honor to be nominated and I am thankful for everyone who works with me. We could not accomplish such great things without all of us.

December – Kathy Kump

December Success Maker Kathy Kump

Teacher

Roselawn Elementary

I was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming and moved to Wink, Texas shortly after that where I attended school until the 2nd grade. We then moved to Artesia when my dad started working at Navajo Refining. It was great to grow up in Artesia because we have lots of family here. I graduated from Artesia High School in 1996. Go Bulldogs! Then I graduated from Eastern New Mexico University Portales in May of 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. I later went back to school at Eastern New Mexico University Portales and graduated with a Masters of Education in Pedagogy & Learning in May 2008. This is the beginning of my 20th year in education. I taught for three years in El Paso at Crosby Elementary, 1 ½ years at Hagerman Municipal Schools in the elementary school and 14 ½ years with Artesia Public Schools. I worked at Hermosa Elementary and then Roselawn Elementary for 13 years. Seventeen years were spent in special education. Teaching in the Inclusion Setting, Pull-Out Programs, and Self-Contained Classroom were a part of that experience. For the last two years, I have been the Reading Intervention teacher at Roselawn.

Building relationships with my students is my favorite thing about being a teacher. I love the interactions we have and seeing the learning happening. Seeing their excitement when they really get something, those “ah ha” moments and the pride they feel when accomplishing something, is really special. I love to see them excited about learning.

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Jeffrey Molina, who works at Holly Frontier Company – Navajo Refining Company as a Training Coordinator. We have two beautiful daughters, Miranda who is a junior at Artesia High School and Jema who is a 6th grader at Artesia Intermediate School.

I am just so grateful to the Artesia Public Schools and the Written in Red Foundation for everything they do for all of us, especially our students. It was an honor to be nominated and I am thankful for everyone who works with me. We could not accomplish such great things without all of us.

January – Elizabeth Pantoja Najar

December Success Maker Kathy Kump

Foreign Language Department

Artesia High School

I grew up in Hagerman, NM and am blessed to work at Artesia High serving as the department head of the Foreign Language department and teaching Spanish 1-3. Earning my bachelor’s degree from ENMU, I am currently working on a Master’s in Educational Administration at ENMU as well. I also earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education.

I absolutely love when students realize they know and can do more than they thought. With Spanish, students always think they do not know what they are doing but once it clicks they do amazing things! I also love the relationships I build with these students and the trust I earn from them. My students are just awesome!

Being surrounded by my family is a blessing to me. My parents still live in Hagerman and are always ready for the kids to come back home. I have an older brother, who has made Artesia his and his family’s home and a younger sister who lives in Roswell. My husband and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in a few months with our amazing son, who we welcomed into the world in September. Our family is everything to us.

The work Tate Branch and the Written in Red Foundation put in for our community and educators is incredible. To have a program in place that recognizes how great our educators are and how hard they work truly displays the value this community holds in our profession. I am fortunate enough to have students that believe I have held a part in their education and for that, I am so grateful. It is so great to be a Bulldog!

Article originally published in Focus on Artesia 2021 Spring edition.

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