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Woman who spent years cleaning classrooms becomes a teacher at the same school after earning her GED

The longtime elementary school custodian, Isabel Navarro, started working to support her family at just 15 years old.

Woman who spent years cleaning classrooms becomes a teacher at the same school after earning her GED
Cover Image Source: YouTube | KWTX News10

Isabel Navarro has proved that hard work and a passion for learning can help you achieve your dreams no matter how old you are. The longtime elementary school custodian started working to support her family at just 15 years old. But she never let anything stop her lifelong dream of becoming an educator. The 35-year-old woman from Waco, Texas, went back to school for her GED while working full-time as the head custodian at Spring Valley Elementary in the Midway ISD. She is now a paraprofessional, or teacher's assistant, at the very same school.


Navarro grew up in Mexico, but at the time, her family struggled to make ends meet. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of high school as a teenager so that she could work and start providing for her family. She moved to the United States in 2009 after meeting her husband. Navarro first began working in housekeeping for a while before eventually securing a job at Woodway Elementary in 2013 as a custodian. Since 2016, she worked to clean the classrooms at Spring Valley Elementary but always knew she loved interacting with the children and wanted to make a real impact in the classroom as an educator.

"When I was a child, I always wanted to be a teacher or a nurse," she told KWTX. "And I started working at 15 years old to help my parents at home and now I can finish my education and follow my dream." She worked really hard to achieve that dream because it was not easy. The working mom of three went to M-C-C to obtain her GED, which was extremely hard for her as English is her second language. But her hard work did not go unnoticed. 

Seeing Navarro go to school was inspiring to Spring Valley Elementary School Principal Kappy Edwards. "I am immensely proud of Isabel's determination and commitment to furthering her education, obtaining her GED and transitioning into a paraprofessional role within Spring Valley," Edwards said. "This achievement, especially while working full-time as our head custodian and managing a family with three children, showcases her admirable dedication and serves as an inspiring example for others."

Representational Image Source: Pexels |  Arthur Krijgsman
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Arthur Krijgsman

The new teacher admitted that her first few weeks on the new job have been exciting. "It's been good, so so good," she confessed. "Every day is something new to learn not just for the kids but also for me, too, and I'm very happy to come in this way and share with my teachers and principals. They've been supportive for all my journey in my life."


Navarro's story is a reminder that it is never too late to chase after a dream. All you need is the drive to work hard and keep moving forward. "I want to try new opportunities for me, and I wanted to show myself that it's never too late to keep learning and I wanted to show everybody that you still can do it." She is hoping to eventually get her teaching certificate and have a classroom of students of her own. Navarro went from cleaning classrooms to teaching in them to prove to anyone who is doubting themselves that anything is possible.

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