Administrative Professionals Spotlight: Teresa Gonzalez and Herlinda Godoy

When families from other countries come to Dallas ISD to register their children for school, the first place they visit is the Margaret and Gilbert Herrera Welcome Center, known informally as the intake center. When families walk in the door, some of the first faces they see are team members Teresa Gonzalez and Herlinda Godoy. 

As administrative assistants both wear many hats, performing duties such as checking documents and making sure the families have everything they need to enroll in the district—from making IDs for the students, to making sure they are placed in the correct school. Often working through language barriers, they show families how to use a cell phone or how to send an email. They use resources such as the district’s Translation Services team and online tools to communicate with parents, when they speak languages other than English and Spanish.

They, like other administrative professionals, often perform many tasks that help students and other team members be successful. Their contributions and talents will be celebrated nationally on April 24 for Administrative Professionals Day. 

Gonzalez and Godoy also help with different needs by getting other departments involved, such as when receiving students who require special services or working with the nurse who helps make sure the students have all of their immunizations in order to begin their journey in the district.

The two administrative assistants shared that the main thing they keep in mind is to have the heart to listen, to be patient and to have a heart of service to help people. They are resourceful and embrace the Core 4 tenets. 

Having worked together for 10 years, they know when to step in and help each other out without skipping a beat. Godoy has been working for the district for 29 years and Gonzalez has worked for the district for 27 years. 


What is an accomplishment that you’re proud of?

Godoy: I’m proud of what I am right now because I was once a newcomer. I remember when I registered my daughter when she was in pre-K. I didn’t know any English, so it was very hard for me to fill out the documents and forms, and I was doing it by myself. So being here and helping families makes me proud to be here. When we see three or four families living in one apartment it takes me back to when I first arrived from my native country of Mexico, because I was living through similar circumstances. 

Gonzalez: I started school here since kindergarten, but my dad came first to the United States from Mexico. And with seven kids, I think what he accomplished is what newcomers are trying to do. He was fortunate to be taken under someone’s wing who helped him and guided him. All seven of us siblings have had the chance to be here in Dallas ISD as students, and we’ve had a good life. And whenever I help people, I think about my mom. My mom really never learned English. I think about this, and all of these things make me feel good. 


What drew you to  the education field?

Gonzalez: When my son was in pre-K, he didn’t want to school. So I got involved with being in the PTA and being a volunteer. Team members at Edward Titche Elementary School, where I was volunteering, would ask me to translate, and that’s when the principal asked me to get more involved. 

Godoy: When I was in Mexico, I was a pre-K teacher. From the time I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher, because I had great teachers in my life. When my parents moved to Jalisco, I attended a school for teachers there, and I started teaching the little ones. So when I came here to the United States with no English, my daughter was in second grade and her teacher told me I needed to become a teacher there because she saw the way I worked with the students as a volunteer. I went and talked to the principal who said they needed bilingual team members and I started as a teacher assistant. 


Do you have a favorite memory of working for the district?

Gonzalez: When I was at Casa View Elementary School, I was a teacher assistant and what really stands out with me is the principal would call me over the intercom and would pull me to interpret for families. That’s how I met the principal there and we’ve become very good friends over the last 24 years. In fact, she’s my daughter’s godmother. I know that I needed to expand my Spanish, especially when I was asked to interpret for parents during Admission Review and Dismissal meetings. That’s what stands out for me, where I was needed. And working there gave me the foundation to work here.

Godoy: I was a TA but I became a community liaison at a school and I remember in my first year there I wanted to do something big. So that year we were invited to go to a circus. I took the whole school with 17 buses and the circus came for us at the school, and we were following them in a caravan. From the school in East Dallas, we went to Reunion Arena where the circus was taking place. It was so fun and the kids were so happy. When we came back, they were so impressed with that. I always remember that experience because everyone expressed such joy. I will never forget that moment.


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