This is a motto lived by Angela O. Pichardo on a daily basis.
A native of Big Foot, TX, and 1982 graduate of DHS, Angela writes the following: “As I checked my teacher box for mail on Thursday, April 19, at Bob Hope Elementary campus, little did I know that a letter I believed to be a mass campaign mailer was a complete surprise. The letter was addressed to Angela O. Pichardo from none other than Washington D.C. My first thoughts were, ‘What is a letter from the country’s Capitol doing in the hands of this Bigfoot country girl and SWISD STEM Instructor?’ As a complete surprise, Congressman Will Hurd had taken the time to send me a congratulatory letter for the recognition and humbling honor of being selected as a Leadership Finalist of the 2018 H-E-B Education-in-Excellence Award I had received earlier this year, and, most importantly, for my dedication and contributions made to students and families in Devine, Bob Hope Elementary, SWISD, San Antonio, and the South Texas area. I will be traveling to Houston early in May for a final interview and to attend the awards dinner where Charles Butt, H-E-B Chairman and CEO, will present the top honors.”
About the recognition she has received this school year, Angela goes on to write: “After having such wonderful teachers in Devine, I attribute my successes to those who have come before me and to those in the future as a teacher at Bob Hope Elementary.” Angela continues: “It is said that we teach the way we were taught, and this is apparent in my teaching style. I put love, compassion, excellence and devoted time into my students, just as I was taught by Mrs. Cynthia Straight, Mrs. Kathleene Runnels, current Devine Mayor Mr. Bill Herring, and the person who inspired me to become a teacher, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, and amazing ex-Devine Spanish teacher Mr. Noel Garcia. In having these ex-Devine High School teacher’s as mentors, I learned to love and seek out knowledge and to someday pass on what has been learned to my own students. I feel immensely blessed to have had such great humanitarians in my life like my teachers in Devine.”
Angela is a woman of passionate interests. One of those interests is in the criminal justice system. She received her Criminal Justice degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio with Cum Laude honors and a sister with Alpha Phi Sigma the Criminal Justice Honors membership. She then received her Masters in Education in Integrating Technology Curriculum and Instruction, and she is currently in her first year of her Doctorate program.
While working at the Bexar County jail, completing her internship in the criminal justice field, Angela noted that it is the choices people make that can “either devastate or advance” their lives and those of their children. Being in charge of family visitations where children of incarcerated parents went for their weekly visits to see their parents, she recalls, “I was pressing the elevator buttons to take the children upstairs for visitation when I came to an epiphany that rearranged my life’s goals from intervention to prevention.” She then directed her focus in impacting children’s and their parents’ lives by giving them “time, love, and compassion while providing resources, life-skills training, and, most importantly, opportunities of life choices to build, maintain, and advance their educational successes.” Angela believes that “true success is helping others reach their potential in educational, social, emotional, and humanitarian endeavors.”
Consequently, Angela transitioned into teaching by entering Region 20’s Alternative Certification, “to fulfill my goals of prevention,” she says. As an educator pursuing that end, Angela Pichardo has been recognized with many accolades. Earlier this year, she was honored by KSAT 12’s Live Now, Go Public Schools, and Southwest ISD as a finalist for their Cool Schools program in which the implementation of Bob Hope Elementary Experimental Aviation Association’s (EAA) Young Eagles Club was acknowledged. The students’ are able to earn their Pilot’s license by completing a flight with Licensed Pilots and completing their ground school training, a program which is free to all Bob Hope Students enrolled. The Kinder to 5th grade Young Eagles students were also able to experience indoor skydiving at iFly in San Antonio and were given educational lessons on Aerodynamics and the advances in Aviation and Aerospace development.
Another award Angela received in that arena this year was being recognized at the San Antonio Tri-centennial event – the San Antonio Aviation and Aerospace 2018 Hall of Fame Awards dinner – for having been selected as the only elementary teacher for The Dee Howard Foundation’s first annual STEM in Educational Excellence Award and one of three finalists at the event. The dinner was held at GDC Technics, one of the new and innovative partners at Port San Antonio, advancing Aviation and Aerospace technology in San Antonio and the surrounding South Texas Area.
Other outstanding awards Angela Ortiz Pichardo has received:
Funding for the EAA Young Eagles Club – a campus-wide membership of the Experimental Aviation Association and students are able to begin their pilot’s license as early as the elementary level.
Several honors from the Southwest ISD Foundation Grant program, in which she received funding for her Quilts of Love – a 5th grade organization in which students learn geometry, measurement, and design, and then use what is learned to create quilts that are donated to children with cancer at local children’s hospitals.
She also received funding for the only 3D printer at the campus. This is the implementation of instruction by using hands-on activities and coding, allowing for the use of programming with the 3D design and software to produce student-created designs and projects.
Angela was awarded funding for her Drones for Kids project and the use of UAV’s in the future. The Drones will be used for student instruction in STEM and how we can use them during catastrophic events, such as for search and rescue – a technology that was desperately needed during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by helping locate individuals that were most in need.
Other accomplishments include Angela’s publications:
She is a published author with the San Antonio Health Dept. in Kinder curriculum that was implemented for state Kinder lessons.
Angela has published several articles with Dr. Del Carmen, Ph.D Criminal Justice Professor in criminal justice journal.
Angela has one novel and three children’s books ready for publication in the fall.
Passionate about education and aviation, Angela is just two college courses away from her Airport Management and Aviation Degree; in addition, she is in flight school for her pilot’s license.
There’s more. Among her myriad interests, Angela is an Adjunct, teaching English Composition I to nurses advancing to their RN degrees. And more…. She has been a local real estate broker for the past 28 years, and she has built several custom homes in the Devine and San Antonio areas. She is currently working in luxury, custom, and commercial properties, and she is also specializing in assisting individuals who are first-time home buyers.
Angela loves tennis, biking, ranching and gardening – hailing back to her roots – and is also world-traveled. She states, “Although I’ve traveled all over the world, my favorite places are Sedona, Mexico, Seattle, Australia, and especially the historical and French Canadian part of Canada. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking. Niagara Falls was awesome!”
With all these activities swirling around her life, Angela states that several values keep her grounded. The first of those is her family. She maintains a close relationship with her parents and siblings, “honoring their past, their elders, and their family history.” Her father, Emilio, is a retired Frio County Precinct 2 Supervisor. Her mother, Carmen, is a retired RN, having served as a school and county nurse as well as a DISD school board member in the 80s. Angela has two brothers, both Devine graduates, Adam and Arturo Ortiz.
And Angela is the mother of two children: Mikaela C. Pichardo-Fuchs and Ethan M. Pichardo. Mikaela is a 2005 Somerset ISD graduate and a Texas A&M graduate with a Bachelors specializing in Poultry Science. She is married to Stephen Fuchs, CEO and owner of Ideal Poultry, the largest family owned Hatchery in the nation, in Cameron, Texas. They both are involved in the day-to-day operations of their family-owned business, which was established in 1937. Mikaela has two “amazingly beautiful children” – Caleb and Sofia.
“My greatest supporter is my son Ethan,” Angela shares. Ethan is a 2007 Devine graduate. He worked in auto sales at Brown Dodge Chrysler and Mercedes Benz of San Antonio and is currently in insurance sales. However, Angela proudly states, “Ethan will be entering the Culinary Institute at the Pearl to become a Chef in the hopes of opening a local micro-Brewery and farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in old family recipes infused with modern culinary techniques.”
As a member of the Devine/Bigfoot community, playing an aviator with her father on their front porch after his long days of work in Bigfoot, Angela fell in love with Aerospace, Aviation, and Aeronautics. Little did they know, however, that she would pursue a life-long passion of flight and dreams. “As an Educator, we can teach our children to pass any exam, but as a true teacher, we will teach our children to have DREAMS and learn how to live them!”