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Estimbo believes ‘the classroom is a stage’

20140523 Fred-EstimboMISSION—“The classroom is a stage” is a mantra Fred Estimbo lives by, and he tells his students not just to dream but to dream big.

This year, Estimbo received District Teacher of the Year for Elementary campuses with Mission CISD. He is originally from Edinburg but has found his educational family at Castro Elementary.

“After I got the award, my students were waiting and they had made cards for me,” Estimbo said. “One girl said, ‘I guess dreams do come true.’ I told her yes.”

The reading and writing teacher started his career in 1977 with MCISD after he heard of an innovative program that was Mission was going to implement. It was a program that utilized computers for curriculum.

After four years with the district, Estimbo was promoted to spearhead the entire operation of computer-assisted instruction for MCISD. The company that created the program, now known as Success Maker, offered Estimbo a job as an educational consultant that took him campuses across the country and to Puerto Rico.

The teacher graduated from Pan American University in 1982 and earned his degree in Spanish with a minor in music education. After getting his feet wet in education while working at a Head Start, he instantly knew he enjoyed working in a classroom setting.

“In 2001 was when I decided to come back into the classroom and to the same district,” Estimbo said. “For me, teaching is not a job, it’s what I love to do and it comes from the heart. It drives me and there are no two days that are alike.”

Estimbo said he has a lineage of educators in his family, and he said they were his inspiration. Education has been engraved in Estimbo’s brain. He only wishes his parents were still with him to see his growth in the medium that he loves.

The teacher of year also attributes his success to former Castro Elementary principals Frances Sanchez and Diana Alcocer as well as current Principal Thelma Garza. He added Lynda Alejos was very instrumental in his career.

“I have to credit these people. Because of them I want to emulate the way that they are,” Estimbo said. “And how passionate they are for our children.”

The elementary teacher said this is a monumental moment in his life to be receiving such a prestigious award. He added it’s a moment he will never live down, that has been etched into his heart with indelible ink.

This is also Estimbo’s second time receiving teacher of the year; his first year was in 2007. Now the teacher has his fingers crossed to win the position of Regional Teacher of the Year.

“Your staff members nominate you, and you basically fill out three questions,” Estimbo said. “They select which of the essays have more heart, which ones move you. Just to hear my name being said, it’s such an exhilarating experience.”

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