By Nina Crowder
Copper Basin News
Winkelman Elementary School’s new principal, Pam Gonzalez, is no stranger to Hayden. Pam, a 1991 graduate of Hayden High School, moved away and went to college. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1995. Pam student taught the second grade during her last semester of college. When one of the fifth grade teachers at Hayden wanted to get out of a contract at winter break, Mr. Guzman, principal at the time, asked Pam if she would be interested in taking over that position for the remainder of the school year.
Pam began her college career at South Mountain College and Central Arizona College (CAC) for her pre-requisites. She decided to go through the CAC satellite program for Northern Arizona University (NAU) which included evening courses in Globe and a summer program in Flagstaff. Pam obtained her master’s degree which included counseling and human relations from NAU. Pam’s Master Education Leader was obtained through Grand Canyon University and she has a principal certificate along with a K-12 gifted endorsement. After college she was thrilled to be working at her hometown school of Hayden.
About seven years ago her husband had been working in Globe and was transferred to Florence for his job, so they decided to move to Florence. At Florence Unified School District Pam taught seventh grade self-contained for three years and special education preschool. Then she taught at the Coolidge Unified School District as the gifted specialist for the district. When she was a gifted specialist she taught children K-12 and then taught the teachers who worked with the children. She was happy to be teaching and enjoyed the community.
In time a position opened at Hayden, and again, she was excited about the opportunity to return.
Pam was a substitute in college to become familiar with the different levels of grades and students. When asked what has been or is her favorite grade to teach, Pam had a difficult time answering. She has enjoyed working with all levels of K-12 but deep down she feels her passion is here in the elementary school working with younger children. Pam still performs her duties as an academic counselor for the middle school and high school in Hayden.
Pam has so much care, passion and enthusiasm about teaching especially in Hayden. Pam said she always dreamt of coming back to Hayden to give back to the community that she grew up in. Pam is excited to come work in Hayden every day and help children fulfill their dreams. Whether they grow and move away or grow and come back; she gets to have an impact on their lives.
Pam’s family is very supportive of her and her husband still has his job in Florence and commutes everyday in a van pool which helps a great deal. Ramon Gonzalez enjoys the opportunity he has to coach middle school football and middle school basketball. Ramon and Pam met in Hayden High School and were high school sweethearts. They kept in touch when she was in college and when she finished college they got together again. They are married and have been married for years. They have three young children; Clairssa, 11 years old and in sixth grade; Javier, 8 years old in third grade; and Lucas, 4 years old, he is just starting preschool.
This year Hayden Elementary School’s K-5 enrollment is at 129 and preschool is at 19 students. The community and parents are supportive of the school and the events which help to ensure the school’s success. Hayden schools encourage positive reinforcements in the lives of the children and the community. “The staff here is dedicated and positive, it has been so exciting to join this team that wants to give so much,” said Pam. The four day school week has been nice to work with and has improved attendance. Some of the children are even excited to go back to school after three days off. This is the second year Hayden schools are performing on a four day schedule. Pam Gonzalez will do well in her new role and we congratulate her and wish her the best!