Killeen Elementary School gathered staff members for the first time on Tuesday, August 3.
The new school consolidates East and West Ward elementary schools. Some staff members who were once students are now back behind the teacher's desk, according to Principal Tammy Thornhill.
When Thornhill began reading a poem from 20 years ago, at the staff meeting, third-grade teacher Gabriela Gonzalez recognized her own words and was surprised to be reunited with her third-grade teacher, Monica Proctor.
Gonzalez and Proctor who were once teacher and student will now be colleagues who work alongside one another, 20 years later.
“I am grateful and excited,” said Gonzalez. “She has all that wisdom. I want to be a great teacher like she was for me.”
According to KISD, when Gonzalez got her job she didn't recognize her previous teacher's name on the roster; as Proctor has since married with a different last name.
“Throughout my elementary years, I struggled in school because English was my second language,” Gonzalez said. “[Mrs. Proctor] was one of a handful of teachers who made me feel safe in the classroom."
They first met in 2001, and Proctor said she remembers Gonzalez as a tall, and shy third-grader who worked hard.
“It’s surreal to me,” Proctor said of the reunion with her former student. “I can see her drive and her heart. That is what I try to instill in my students. I am so proud of her.”
Gonzalez was a teacher at Maxdale Elementary School last year and is excited to be at Killeen Elementary School, located in the neighborhood where she grew up.
“It means that I can help the community where I grew up,” said Gonzalez. “I can continue the tradition.”
Gonzalez's son will also be a student at Killeen Elementary School this year.
Killeen Elementary School is home to other student and teacher pairs as well, with full-circle moments like this making the job all the more rewarding.
For the full story visit the KISD website.