For Fairmont Anaheim Hills Campus kindergarten teacher Marissa Pacheco, being part of the Fairmont community is something that has carried value and significance for decades.
Pacheco first stepped foot on Fairmont’s former campus in Yorba Linda when she was only 2 1/2 years old. Her mother was a preschool teacher at that campus, and Pacheco continued attending as a student through kindergarten. At that point, her family moved, and she began attending a public school in her new neighborhood.
Though she didn’t always know for sure that she wanted to be a teacher, Pacheco said it was always something that was in the back of her mind. She began working in the extended-day program (what is now student services) at Fairmont in 2004 while she was studying at Cal State Fullerton — where she received her degree in the liberal studies program and earned her teaching credential in multiple-subject teaching for elementary school — and also frequently subbed at Fairmont prior to being hired as a full-time teacher, a role she’s had for almost seven years now.
Pacheco began as a junior kindergarten teacher and taught 2nd grade, as well, before moving into her role in kindergarten. She said she truly loves being in the classroom and helping her students make new discoveries in learning.
“I like seeing that moment when they get it,” she said. “You see them try and try and try, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking to watch them get frustrated, but you keep pushing them and encouraging them —you’re like their coach, essentially. Seeing that moment when they get it — that “Aha!” moment — it’s really great to see and know that you made an impact.”
It’s that type of impact that was made by her teachers when she was a young student and one that drove her back to the Fairmont family. Pacheco said there’s a very unique culture — one that is more like that of a family — at Fairmont, and it’s what makes her excited to go to work each day. She said that people are always willing to help one another and extend kindness to each other.
“There’s a quality of life here that’s much different than what I’ve seen anywhere else,” she said. “You want to be here, and you want to stay. Everyone collaborates, and it makes it so that you’re not alone. You really do have a strong sense of team — not just at your campus but across Fairmont.”
Pacheco said she’s extremely thankful for being able to be a part of Fairmont for so many years and truly enjoys the family aspect of it. She knows she can always count on people like Director of Student Services and Activities Vicky Mantell to be there to support her, and she appreciates that she receives a birthday call from President and CEO David Jackson every year and can expect a hug from him whenever she sees him on campus — something you can’t always expect from superintendents in larger school districts.
“Fairmont is a special place,” she said. “I don’t think there are any other places like it, at least not that I’ve seen in my experience. We’re definitely in a league of our own as far as not only our education but also having individuals who love what they’re doing, and I think that shows through our teaching and throughout our community. It’s just infectious with happiness, and you can tell that we love what we do.”