The Pueblo community welcomes back Mrs. Kathryn Gunnels to the 2016-17 school year after three years of “taking a break” and pursuing other positions in the district.
She decided to return to Pueblo to teach freshman English. During her three-year departure from Pueblo, Gunnels kept in touch with several of her former students, but she still wanted to be back in the community full-time.
“I missed being able to work with students in the classrooms and seeing their progress,” Gunnels said. “I love teaching freshmen more than any other grade because they are full of enthusiasm and malleable.”
Although returning has been a happy event for her, Gunnels said that she did not miss all of the meetings and the paperwork involved in being a full-time teacher.
She added that the students, administrators and teachers are all part of her family.
“I love being at Pueblo,” Gunnels said. “There is no better school that I’ve ever worked at.”
Although Montaño was born in California, he has lived in Tucson for nearly 45 years and attended the University of Arizona, earning his degree in social studies. His professional career has been very eclectic; he has taught at Maxwell Middle School as well as Naylor (K-8) as a social studies teacher. His focus shifted to administration, which led him to Cholla High School, Palo Verde High School, Rincon High School, Secrist Middle School… and now Pueblo.
“Oh, it’s [Pueblo] beautiful!” said Montaño. “Pueblo is such a wonderful family. Once I got here, I felt accepted, and I wasn’t nervous at all.”
Montaño’s responsibilities and duties as an assistant principal include freshman discipline (with last names beginning with “M” through “Z”), developing and improving curriculum, summer school, testing and data.
He added that his professional responsibility is to support students and especially our teachers. Above all, Montaño wholeheartedly wants to help students to believe that they can change to make the school a better place.
“We are all unique, and we should all have self-confidence. We make a difference in someone’s life,” he said.
Montaño believes that he will be at Pueblo for “a long time”, and he hopes that his legacy will be to have known in his heart that he helped students to believe that they truly can achieve their dreams.
Pueblo math teacher Mr. Charles William (“Billy”) Campbell was honored for being the recipient of the “MathMovesU Math Hero” award. He received the official news that he was just one of 25 math teachers in thirteen states to be honored for this award.
Nominated by co-teacher Ms. Shanti Foster last semester, Campbell learned early last summer that he would be competing in the finals. Campbell was asked a series of questions on an application and his responses determined him to be a finalist.
On August 31, Campbell was informed that he was one of the 25 recipients of the math award.
“I feel a greater sense of accomplishment for being honored for what I do every day,” Campbell said. “It’s a pretty big thing, you know? Being recognized for the hard work you do is always nice—and we [teachers] feel as good as students who are nominated for an award. It’s like somebody saying, ‘Good job’.”
Campbell said that he wholeheartedly loves his job and is always striving to teach math to Pueblo students to the best of his ability. He added that no matter what he does, there is always a way to be better.
“Whatever I do, I want to do it well,” Campbell said. “Whether it’s teaching, playing video games, being and playing with my son, I want to do it the best I possibly can be.”
Campbell said that after receiving this award, he felt a sense of knowing that he is doing something right. He also expressed gratitude to his students for allowing him to teach them and that they continue to motivate him to always be his best.
“I feel there are a lot of people to thank, but most importantly, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you’ to all of my students,” he said. “They allow me to work hard with the best educators. I have worked with a lot of great teachers throughout the years, especially here at Pueblo. I am so fortunate to work with and belong to the most awesome math department!”
Campbell received $2,500 for his award, and that same amount was matched and awarded to Pueblo.
Congratulations Mr. Campbell! We are proud of you!
YOTO, also known as Youth On Their Own, was established in 1986 by Ann Young at Amphitheater High School in hopes of helping homeless teens. This program was made possible with the help of local churches, local foundations and many concerned citizens in Pima County.
Today, YOTO continues to help financially unstable students who are invested in academics. Pueblo’s Learning Support Coordinator, Ms. Veronica Vironet, who has worked with YOTO for three years described the way the program has grown throughout the years.
“Today we are doing a better job of promoting the program and giving more recognition to its purpose and what it does to help students,” said Vironet.
Due to higher recognition, the program has increased in student numbers in recent years.
“This year alone  there are already 22 students in the YOTO program,” said Vironet, “and applications are still coming in.”
She added that the program provides financial aid to the students who are enrolled at Pueblo. This includes a stipend for satisfactory grades [A’s and B’s] and regular daily attendance.
This stipend helps students with the money they require for paying bills and/or sports or club enrollment. Besides providing financial assistance, YOTO also offers a food pantry and access to a clothing bank.
“The only requirement that students need to verify to be in this program is to prove that they are living away from their parents through no fault of their own,” Vironet said.
She said that her door is always open in the main office and that she will walk students through the process of applying for YOTO, which is now exclusively completed on-line. (www.yoto.org)
Many new faces are gracing the classrooms here at Pueblo for this 2015-16 school year, including Ms. Sande Levitz, who is Pueblo’s new health teacher.
Levitz, a Tucson native, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in conflict transformation in peace building with a focus on restorative justice from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Throughout the years, she said that she has been involved in many workshops and programs with high school students. Prior to coming to Pueblo, she was a substitute teacher in TUSD for eight years and decided to become an official teacher and apply at Pueblo.
“I feel very comfortable here [at Pueblo], and I enjoy working with all of the students,” said Levitz.
Levitz said that she plans to be a Warrior for a long time, and she wants to share with students a lot of life skills and teach them how to better problem-solve.
“I want to create a foundation, giving kids the opportunity to learn from experience,” said Levitz.
For the past two months, Ms. Victoria Burge, one of Pueblo’s most beloved campus security monitors, took a break due to medical issues. Finally, on April 1, 2015, she returned.
Though it was a struggle coming back, she said that she is very excited to continue her Pueblo career for the rest of the year in better health.
“I fought to get back to you guys, but that’s how bad I wanted to be back,” said Burge.
Upon Victoria’s return, many students welcomed her back with hugs and warm greetings.
“When I was gone, some of the students decided to draw me pictures, and they got sent right to my mailbox,” said Burge. “As I opened these cards, I sat by my mailbox and cried my eyes out realizing how much I needed to return.”
Victoria’s return confirms that she is not retiring any time soon.
“During the beginning of the year, I promised the freshman class that I would stay for all of their four years they were here, and to watch them graduate. I keep my promises.”
She paused and said, “Pueblo has stolen my heart.”