Director Spotlight – Patty Nuñez

Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound Director Patty Nuñez has been a part of the SSH family since almost the beginning! Though she never thought of herself as a teacher, she has found her calling and her passion in helping create the next generation of bilinguals! We chatted with Patty about her childhood in Mexico, how she made the switch from engineer to educator, and her favorite Spanish Schoolhouse memories.

Mexican Roots and Reflections

Although Patty was born in Puebla, Mexico (site of the famous Battle of Puebla – of Cinco de Mayo fame), she moved to Mexico City as a young child.  Patty raves about the capital city as the most beautiful in the world!  “There is so much to do there.  It is full of culture, food, concerts, exhibits, and museums.”  “You could visit a new museum every weekend for a year,” states Patty. 

Her favorite memories of growing up include family and friends.  “My mom was from a huge family,” says Patty, “and we spent every Sunday together, cooking and eating.”  She remembers that everyone had a job from cooking to washing dishes, and everyone learned to be a great cook.  She still cooks the favorites – soup, pozole, tacos, tamales, rice.  As the oldest of many cousins, Patty was often tasked with babysitting the littlest ones.  “That is probably why I love the 18-month class so much – it reminds me of my family,” states Patty. 

Playing with friends is another fond memory.  “There were no electronics or computers, we played in the street, roller skating and riding bikes,” Patty remembers.  Songs, games, and rondas were regular pastimes.  Patty brings these traditional games to the school, stating, “Many of these are games that we play with the children, like El Lobo and A la Víbora de la Mar.  They love when I play El Lobo with them!” 

Starting Afresh in Texas

Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound  Director Patty Nunez celebrates Hispanic Heritage with her students

Patty earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and worked in international business.  In 2001, after more than 15 years in the business field, she started a new chapter when she moved to the U.S. with her husband and newborn daughter.  She had studied English in school while growing up, but suddenly found herself in a place where she knew no one.  Even grocery shopping was a challenge!  She was excited to be on a new adventure and eager to find new friends and experiences.

Patty befriended some of her neighbors and found that two of them worked for a school called Spanish Schoolhouse.  They tried to convince her that she would be a great teacher but, at first, she resisted.  “No, I’m an engineer, not a teacher,” she recalls telling them.  One of the SSH founders, Victoria Williams, called her to offer her a position.  She declined.  Later, another of the owners, Josie Gerber, called her.  She politely declined a second time.  “So, they sent the Mexican to convince me,” she laughs, referring to owner Monica Ramirez.  She accepted the position teaching the three-year-olds as well as one of the After School Spanish classes.   She was excited to enroll her daughter in a Spanish immersion school, as she knew English was likely to become her dominant language otherwise. 

New Opportunities at Spanish Schoolhouse

Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound Directors Patty Nunez and Adriana Tetelman

It was 2004 – the early days of Spanish Schoolhouse – so there wasn’t the fully developed curriculum that we have today.  Patty remembers that the focus was on vocabulary and simply having fun.  “We had all the enthusiasm!  We made learning fun for the students. In the process, we gained the knowledge to create the best Spanish-immersion preschool.” She loved being in the school environment, having an impact on little ones, while also being close to her daughter.  “It allowed me to be a more hands-on mom while still being able to work and contribute.” 

In 2010, her friend and former neighbor, Adriana Tetelman, was working as the teacher coordinator at SSH Flower Mound.  Adriana had the opportunity to purchase the franchise and called on Patty to partner with her.  Patty’s business experience coupled well with Adriana’s educational expertise and the new team was created.  Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound celebrated their 10-year anniversary in 2020, and they continue to impact more and more young lives each year!

Creating Memorable Experiences for Students and Staff

Family picnic - preschool director and student in train car

Some of Patty’s favorite times at Spanish Schoolhouse are the Christmas and End-of-Year shows.  They are a time for the children to really demonstrate all they are learning for their parents and loved ones.  “I remember after one of our shows, a student told his dad, ‘This was the best day of my life.’  That’s when I realized that we are really impacting lives,” she reminisces.  When the pandemic hit and in-person shows were halted, Patty really felt the loss.  Though show preparations are a lot of work, Patty says, “I will never stress about them again.  I will be happy and just appreciate the experience we are able to create for our students and families.”

Another impactful memory was when a parent told Patty that her child plays school at home and likes to play the part of “Miss Patty.”  “What I say and do matters,” reflected Patty.  “I have to be a role model and bring my best self to the job every day.”

“We have the best team of teachers,” says Patty, “Everyone supports and cares about each other.”  Creating that family-like environment has been the key to keeping her team strong.  The teachers have a shared love of the children, of education, and of the Hispanic culture. This was reflected in our recent parent survey.  One parent stated, “I love the warmth of the teachers to the children, they have a nurturing manner about them and that is so nice and reassuring for me to know my child is treated with care.”

The Growing Bilingualism Trend

Over the years, Patty sees a trend toward bilingualism.  Lewisville ISD was one of the first districts to add a dual-language program.  They came to Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound to observe our processes.  “They implemented many of the concepts they learned from us,” says Patty.  “Now they have huge waitlists to get into their programs.  They love to receive students from Spanish Schoolhouse.  They have a lot of respect for our program, as we do for theirs.”   

Patty finds it very rewarding to share both her language and her culture, inspiring a new generation of bilinguals.  “In past generations, being bilingual wasn’t always encouraged.  But for me, it’s a positive thing, being proud of where you come from,” says Patty.  She is proud of her heritage, her family, and her culture.  And she feels fortunate to be able to pass along values like family, friendship, respect, and community. 

Spanish Schoolhouse is proud to have dedicated and compassionate leaders like Patty who share our mission.  We appreciate her many contributions over the years to providing an excellent educational and cultural experience for Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound students!

Preschool crazy week at Spanish Schoolhouse Flower Mound

So, what do you think?