Teacher Celebrates 30 Years

posted 9/6/22 -- Teresa Beltran’s entire life has been entwined with Head Start.

From her West Virginia childhood, to her blended family, to a three-decade teaching career, Teresa knows Head Start Works because it’s all about the kids.

“I do love working with my families,” she said. “I love the kids. I love them. That’s what keeps me here.”

Teresa recently celebrated 30 years of employment with LCCAA, currently as an assistant teacher in the LCCAA Head Start classroom at Lorain City Schools' Garfield Elementary School. After attending a Head Start program in West Virginia, her family moved to Lorain County. She enrolled her oldest son in LCCAA Head Start and when his brother followed, she began volunteering in the classroom.

Teresa has worked as both a head teacher and an assistant teacher at Hopkins Locke, St. Johns, City Center and other LCCAA centers, some of which have been moved or closed. She has been at the LCS collaboration with Garfield since 2008. The unconditional love displayed by her students increases the joy she finds in celebrating their achievements.

Recently, she encountered a former parent at a local restaurant. He told her his daughter’s desire to become a teacher grew from her experience at Head Start. Teresa had been the girl's hero, her father said.

“That’s why I do it,” she said.

Teresa also met her husband, Abraham, at LCCAA Head Start. The former bus driver is now a Service Safety Supervisor with more than 30 years experience. The two blended their families and now have six children and 14 grandchildren between them.

Teresa credits her long career to great mentors: her sons’ original teacher, Rachel Goodwin, who encouraged her to apply for her original position; co-teacher Donna Wade and former Head Start Director Marianne Pierro.

“I don’t think I would have achieved college if it wasn’t for her,” Teresa said of Pierro.

After 30 years, Teresa doesn’t believe children have changed and the key to success with them remains the same.

“Kids are kids,” she said. “They have the same expectations they had in 1992. They want you to accept them, be good to them and to love them. If you do all those things, you can get them to do anything.”

And for new teachers who may be struggling, she encourages perseverance.

“If you truly care about the children, you’re going to make it.”