Laura E. Gómez ’94, an educator of 26 years recently honored as a 2021 California Teacher of the Year. Prior to that, she was also named Santa Ana Unified Teacher of the Year as well as an OC Teacher of the Year. The OC Registrar also recognized Gómez as one of OC’s 100 Most Influential in their annual series. This informal, conversational speaker series explores how student experiences have profoundly impacted career paths and life journeys of some of UCI’s many distinguished alumni.
As a proud anteater and first generation college graduate, she started her teaching journey in Santa Ana Unified School more than 25 years ago. Gómez is a third-grade teacher at Martin Elementary in Santa Ana. At Martin, she has also worked as a Bilingual Resource Teacher and a Teacher on Special Assignment. Before joining the Martin family, she was as a third-grade Transitional Bilingual and Dual Immersion teacher at Pio Pico.
Born in Tijuana, Gómez came to the US with her mother and six siblings when she was 12. Her family first settled in San Diego then later moved to Los Angeles where Gómez attended Franklin High School and became the first in her family to receive a high school diploma. She then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from UCI and obtained her Masters of Arts in Education with a specialty in reading from National University.
As an immigrant who grew up in a working class home, Gómez understands the struggles that some of her Mexican American students may face. Therefore in the classroom, she works to inspire them by offering experiences that broaden their worlds.