Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight alumni members and share what they are up to.
As one of the recipients of our HBCU Scholarship, Gardenia Soberanis Gonzalezhas used what she’s learned in her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction program to provide her students with the education they deserve.
ACE: What’s your current job? Tell us a little about what you do.
Gardenia Soberanis Gonzalez (GSG): I am a bilingual kindergarten teacher at Wills Point Primary in Wills Point, Texas.
ACE: What do you love about your current role?
GSG: I enjoy building a personal connection with the parents of my students as a familiar face in the community. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiary, I can connect to my students’ parents about the importance of education, how vital it is and how it can impact your life, regardless of immigration status. I help my students’ parents feel comfortable by showing them I can relate to them, as my mom also sacrificed everything for me to have a better life.
ACE: When and how did you know you wanted to have this career?
GSG: Teaching was my passion during my math class in sophomore year of high school. It was the first time I experienced having a teacher, Mr. Garcia, who looked like me with who I had a personal connection. It was evident he was passionate about the subject, as it was always fun and engaging. Mr. Garcia made me feel seen as an individual, not just another student.
I also wanted to be a teacher because of Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that builds connections between students and students with disabilities in a school. It showed me the importance of consistency and the significant impact a friend can have.
ACE: What was it about kindergarten specifically that drew you?
GSG: I decided to be a kindergarten teacher because I think the primary years are the most life-changing when it comes to how students feel about school. I try to make school an adventure for my students so they can fall in love with learning and want to master skills. That way, they have a positive outlook on school.
ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?
GSG: In high school, higher education seemed like a dream. I feel blessed to have been able to graduate from Paul Quinn College with my bachelor’s, because I had to face financial difficulties such as not being eligible for loans and having to pay out of pocket. Obtaining a graduate degree with no debt is beyond a dream. My ACE degree has helped me provide my school with skills I’ve learned during my program.
ACE: How were you able to complete an online degree successfully? What tips would you share?
GSG: My biggest tip for completing an online degree is to use all resources offered and use your time wisely. I utilized my work commute to listen to weekly readings.
ACE: Aside from your degree, what did you gain from your experience at ACE?
GSG: Each term has allowed me to reflect on my actions as a teacher and make changes to benefit my students. All professors are hands-on and share meaningful content during discussions. They’ve shared their emails so we can ask questions and they provide assessment feedback to help me grow as a student.
Being an American College of Education alumni has its perks. When you return as an alumni for another program, you can save 5% off your tuition with the Alumni Continuing Education Grant.