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Making Memories As a Student and Teacher in the Fairmont Community

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.

Mrs. Pacheco attended the Fairmont campus in Yorba Linda from preschool through kindergarten.

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.”

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”