This month’s Featured Teacher, Ms. Carmen Ruelas, comes from our location on Toepperwein Rd. where she is one of our amazing four-year-old lead teachers.
This month’s Featured Teacher was a no-brainer for our Toepperwein’s director, Kimberlie Hopkins. The moment we asked her to start selecting her outstanding teacher for the month she said, “Yes, it is going to be Ms. Carmen!” It is easy to understand why her decision was so easy; Ms. Carmen has been a long-term teacher at Country Home. In fact she has been a part of our Country Home family since 1993, and, after 20 years with us, she has definitely earned the title of Toepperwein’s Featured Teacher. Through her hard work, dedication, love for the school and her children, she truly sets an amazing example for all who cross her path.
Ms. Carmen started her career as a successful hairdresser. Yet, after volunteering with her church’s Sunday school program and raising five beautiful children, she realized that her true calling was being around children. Ms. Carmen devotes her life to learning from what she calls her “special children.” She explains that “they teach you, and you teach them.” Her beautiful approach to helping her students develop comes from her own motto: “every child that comes into my life helps mold me.”
To Ms. Kimberlie, Ms. Carmen has always been the “person that keeps her going.” She explains there is something about Ms. Carmen’s smile, heart, and spirit that lights up a room even when it seems dark. Her positive outlook is infectious, and when asked how she generates this miraculous personality, she simply answers, “prayer.”
There are many things that Ms. Carmen appreciates and loves about Country Home. Most of her favorite parts about her job involve her children; but the friendships she has made over the past 20 years come in a close second. Ms. Carmen explains that she is always interested in how the other teachers are doing, and Ms. Kimberlie notes that she is known around school because she is always giving her coworkers loving handwritten cards.
When Ms. Carmen is not teaching her students or writing her personalized cards, she loves painting and spending time with her husband, five children, and sixteen grandchildren. She explains how Country Home is not just her career, but it is part of her life all of the time. Her husband also works at Country Home, and three of her grandchildren attend our schools.
Ms. Carmen believes that she was placed at Country Home to give children the knowledge that they need, and vice versa, the children give her what she needs out of life. Her advice to any aspiring teachers is to “love your children!” She says it is “important to be able to teach them all individually, yet bring them all together in the classroom.”
Recently she was visited by some of the first children that she taught 20 years ago. These once 4-year-old students are now are continuing their education in college. When they were asked what they remembered about the lessons that Ms. Carmen taught them, they said they remember her always telling them, “You can be whatever you want to be. The sky is the limit.” Her uplifting and always positive teaching approaches are what make Ms. Carmen so unique.