Assistant Principal Carmen Gómez steps down, leaving a legacy of advocacy for Latino and immigrant communities

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Assistant Principal Carmen Gómez has decided to step down from her position and will not be returning in the 2019-2020 school year. According to Gómez, this choice was made due to demanding hours which included countless administrative duties in addition to her devotion to work with families and students, particularly in the immigrant, English Language Department, and Latino community.

Gómez has been in the district for almost 30 years, first serving as a History and ELD teacher at Los Altos High School, then as the new teacher coordinator for the district.

Image courtesy of MVLA

“That’s how I got to know more about Mountain View High School,” Gómez said. “And after seven years of [getting to know more about the school], I fell in love.”

Gómez said there was an opening for an administrative position where she could help combine her ability to support and mentor new teachers with her cultural background in the Latino community.

Gómez said that because of her experience as a young immigrant herself who came to America from Mexico undocumented, she understands the struggle of many children and parents who have the same challenges that she did.

Her fluency in Spanish and passion for helping families in need prompted Gómez to join the staff, where she became an integral part of the ELD and Latino community at the school.

“I speak the language, and I don’t just mean Spanish,” Gómez said. “I also speak the culture.”

According to Gómez, one of the groups she was most involved with was the Latino parent outreach group as a liaison to the administration.

She attended meetings, gave workshops for Spanish speaking parents about the educational system, and met personally with parents who were concerned about their children’s situations, which could be serious.

Her fluency in Spanish and passion for helping families in need prompted Gómez to join the staff, where she became an integral part of the ELD and Latino community at the school

“I’ve been told that you can’t save everyone,” Gómez said. “I disagree.”

Gómez also said that a large part of her job was finding help and acting as an advocate for immigrant families whose students had mental or physical health issues, especially students who left their country only a few months or years prior.

“I feel that in my five years here, I’ve made a difference in terms of making the parents who are the voiceless suddenly have a voice,”Gómez said.

Gómez said this her love of helping and problem solving with any student that came into her office led to conflicts arising in timing. She said that she was working 12 to 14 hour days, which would cause her work life to start to impede on time with her family.

“It was a very, very difficult decision,” Gómez said. “I don’t have children, but I really feel like the students here are my children, so anybody that comes my way, I do my best to treat them with the utmost respect and give them my undivided attention.”

I’ve been told that you can’t save everyone… I disagree

However, she does credit a large team of people who have helped her to build and transform the role of this school in the lives of each student and their family. She said that she is content with knowing that there is support set in place for these families who need so that they have somebody to talk to if they are having any problems.

In terms of finding her successor, Gómez said she hopes that the interview process will include not only administration and teachers, but also students who would give a voice for the population that would be most affected by this change.

The Mexican Folkloric dance team gives a performance dedicated to Gómez, who is their academic liaison.

Gómez said that she also wants the next person to fill the role to be someone who has cultural understanding of the immigrant community and who can resolve conflicts for any student in ELD or mainstream spheres with compassion.

“I want someone who doesn’t see a deficiency in a student and will remind any student who comes into the office that they are good people who made a mistake,” Gómez said

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Reeya Vasishta

1 Comment

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    Frank Navarro on

    What I remember most vividly about Carmen is when Trump called Mexicans rapists and said they were bringing drugs, she was quiet, when Trump said a judge could not be impartial because he was a Mexican, she was silent, and with Trump working on building a wall to keep immigrants from South American countries out of America she was purposely mum. At one point she could have stood up, the issue was here, she did not because it was inconvenient. In her silence, she was complicit in the hostility directed at immigrants.

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