Ariana Gonzalez » BIOGRAPHY


At 5 years old, I quickly understood that speaking Spanish in school was frowned upon. I can still remember turning to my partner during our kindergarten morning circle and telling her I did not understand what the teacher was saying. As she began to translate for me, the teacher interrupted us and told me I would need to learn to speak English. Although the majority of my family spoke English, my first language was Spanish because it was the language my father and grandmother spoke. Once I entered the school system, it was evident only English would be accepted and speaking Spanish would not be tolerated. From that day forward, I never spoke Spanish in school; I felt my culture and my roots were being hidden so I could assimilate into my surroundings.

Once I got to college, I realized I didn’t have to hide who I was and really understood and appreciated what my ancestors gave to me. I always worked with children and I wanted to make sure they were given a chance in understanding the beauty that comes in who they are. I knew speaking two languages was an opportunity to learn another way to think about things and wanted to ensure others would never feel the fear I did. As I completed my Masters and teaching credential at the University of California, San Diego, my goal was to get a teaching position in a bilingual school. I wanted to be a part of an organization that saw bilingualism as an asset; I wanted to ensure I was surrounded by students who looked like me and could relate to who I was. When I learned about EJE Academies, I believed in their mission so much that I knew instantly I had to be a part of the school at any cost, even if it meant not having my own classroom my first year. I began my work at EJEA as an on-site substitute for 1 year then quickly moved into a 3rd grade teaching position where I was reassured by our students I was in the right place. After 5 years in 3rd grade, I became an instructional coach for 2 years then proudly made my way to being the elementary principal where I have been serving for the past 3 years.

I am part of this this movement because EJEA is a place where students are given a high-quality education and their families know each person on our campus truly believes their child will be successful. I continue to be a part of EJEA because the staff and teachers on our campus believe in the mission to support our students; there is no other place so invested in the short and long term goals of our students.  When I wake up in the morning I never feel like I am going to work, I feel like I am going to my second home where we all care and believe in one another.  As a child, I only dreamed of a place where students were given equal opportunity to succeed regardless of the color of their skin, the language they spoke or even their socio- economic status. Unfortunately, we have seen there are very few places whose ultimate purpose is to make children feel important valued, cared for and loved.  I know my experiences and perspectives have led me to EJEA and I am not here by mere coincidence.  We will continue to fight for our children and families to ensure they are given the chance to show how they can make a positive impact on this world one day at a time.