A Texas Woman’s University alumna expresses her gratitude for the university’s role in getting her to where she is today in honor of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Teacher and administrator Claudia Ayala also shares her beliefs on the significance of the historic celebratory month and what it means to her as a Hispanic woman.
Texas Woman’s University alumna Claudia Ayala graduated from TWU with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as a Master of Education with a focus in administration. She now works as an assistant principal for Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Texas.
After completing her bachelor’s degree, Ayala secured a position at Robert. E Lee Intermediate School in Gainesville as a math teacher and remained there for seven years. There, she took part in a number of math collaborative projects alongside Education Service Center Region 1 and North Texas Central College.
Her time as a teacher came to a halt when she was hired earlier this year as the third assistant principal for Gainesville High School. Ayala said as assistant principal, she is now in charge of more than just the students’ education.
“I do a lot,” Ayala said. “Handling discipline, teacher walkthroughs, parent interactions, sports events and much more.”
As a teacher and administrator, Ayala has put in recognizable effort into her work for Gainesville Independent School District. In the past, she has stayed connected and involved in her work by taking up multiple responsibilities including lead teacher, teacher mentor, student teacher advisor, University Interscholastic League (UIL) coaching and teaching summer school. Ayala said that her determination to put herself forward and immerse herself in these positions were qualities she learned as a student at TWU.
Ayala is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma, where she continues to hold chair positions for the Eta Kappa chapter. Ayala said her involvement in the sorority helped her gain professional communication and leadership skills that she has been able to carry with her into her career.
Throughout the years, Ayala’s contribution to Gainesville ISD has not gone unnoticed as the school district has recognized her dedication to her work. She was awarded “Teacher of the Month” in September of 2016 and in the same year was announced “Teacher of the Year.” Additionally, during graduate school, Ayala won the “Outstanding Principal Intern” award from TWU’s College of Professional Education.
Ayala herself holds her own personal accomplishments, such as securing a job the following spring semester after earning her bachelor’s degree the December before, as well as getting hired as an assistant principal shortly after earning her master’s degree.
Ayala said she believes that being a Hispanic woman with many achieved goals and accolades sets an example for the students she worked with at Robert E. Lee Intermediate School and with those she attends to currently at Gainesville High School.
“Students see me and know me within the community,” Ayala said. “I think it tells students who are unsure of themselves that they can accomplish a lot more. Their circumstances don’t define them.”
Ayala said as Hispanic Heritage Month continues, it is important that Hispanic and Latinx representation becomes more prevalent, especially among women.
“When you do look around, there are more Hispanic men,” Ayala said. “Which isn’t bad at all, but females too.”
Ayala said she strongly advocates for the education and success of Hispanic and Latinx students, believing in their goals concerning their paths so success.
Ayala continues as one of Gainesville ISD’s few Hispanic administrative employees — a job she said she enjoys and feels honored to be in as her position can inspire and motivate the younger Hispanic and Latinx community.
Gakenia Njenga can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.