After 23 years Norma Lomeli, Calls it a Day


Norma Lomeli

The Santa Ana Unified School District hosted a banquet to say thank you to Norma Lomeli for her outstanding 23 year career.

Kathleen Te

As she sees who is passing by, stops from finishing what she was doing to say warmly, “Hi.”

“How are you doing?” They not only tell her about how their day, but her warm greeting, chirps Grizzlies up a bit with a smile, from ear to ear.

Lomeli’s motto in life is, “Superfine.” That attitude carried her to embark on a 23 year career as a teacher aide, in SAUSD. It was not her first thought to be a teacher aid, but as a lunchtime supervisor to make sure her four kids were staying out of trouble in MacArthur Fundamental Intermediate School. She did it for 10 years for free. She would play with the kids during recess and have a, “Fancy, Dancy Day.”

Along the way, she wanted to learn more about her kids’ education. The schools systems and teachers, so she could help them get into college. She wanted her kids to lead successful lives.

Lomeli was born in Mexico and went to the University of Guadalajara for two years. She knew she wanted more for her family, so she decided to cross the border and come to America to fulfill that dream.

As the district realized the ample  passion and care she has with students, the district asked her to  become a teacher aide or a “Little Mom,” Lomeli said it. They gave her a test which she passed. Then, placed her at different schools including Saddleback High School and Spurgeon Intermediate School. Finally, she moved to Godinez in 2008.

Her passion and care touches every students heart. “You have to erase sadness and madness.” She tells me a story how one student came into her room crying non stop and she said, “ I am going to eat lunch with you and try to make you feel better.”

Everyday she pushes her students to do their best by whispering to them, “Look at the teachers, make sure you do your work.” She abruptly nods her head, “I never sit down. I am always walking,” she never does just enough for students. She does more than they asked for, especially for herself. She has selflessness which I truly admire. That admiration made it to the district, Employee of the Month for SAUSD this year.

Sadly, her best foot though the door is falling short. Her right knee gets too stressed from walking  and causes pain. This has happened twice. Her family and her made the decision to retire this June.

However, one memory that stands out to her is when a student had graduated and gave her a framed picture of her on her birthday. She loves the students and as I talked to her, you could see it through her eyes. It lights up. Another, is when she dressed up as Mr. Church when he was an assistant principal here for Halloween. “Oh, it was so fun. You know, I dressed with a coat and suit. It was fun,” said Lomeli.

Then, she shrugs back down as I asked her what is she going to be doing as she is retiring. She hilariously says, “Nada, nothing.” Moreso, said, “She will be gardening and spending more time with her grandson.”

She will miss the students, especially the faculty members she got close too. She mentions Mrs. Feuerborn and other English teachers that they were both lovely and nice people to talk to. She will miss the positive role models she had and miss seeing the students.  

However, at the end of the interview, Lomeli still has that jovial light on her face even if she is going to miss the people who make her happy every day. Throughout the interview, we had our own little conservation about my life’s ambitions and advise me to always have a positive pose because, “You just got to.” Today and everyday is such a “Beautiful day.” I learned something in that interview you have yourself to do the bidding in your life.  

She defined that being a teacher aid is not just that, but beyond yourself like a shoulder to cry on.  “You just need to try to understand them.” Her farewell will not be no less a strike of sadness, as her pose will be more remember for a lifetime here in Godinez.