DCTA Member Profile
There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters
Deb Vigil & Loyeen Vigil-McKenna, Skinner Middle School
Sisters Deb Vigil and Loyeen Vigil-McKenna have shared a lot over the years. With just a few years between them, both have borrowed each other’s clothes from time to time as well as shared jewelry, dating tips – and even secrets. But perhaps the greatest thing the sisters shared was a love for their parents.
“Our mom and dad taught in DPS and we saw the impact they had on their students,” said Deb. “It was a great example for my sister and me.”
Growing up in the Vigil household, it quickly became apparent that teaching was in the family genes. And to prove it, both sisters followed in their parents’ education footsteps. Today, both Deb and Loyeen work in side-by-side 7th-grade classrooms at Kepner Middle School – Deb teaching literacy and Loyeen teaching math. Once again the sisters are sharing, but this time its workspaces, students and life experiences.
“I love working next door to my sister and of course all of the students in my classroom,” said Loyeen. “For both of us, the best part of teaching is seeing the growth our students make in my classroom.”
Like most teachers, both Deb and Loyeen are dedicated to the improvement of their schools and the learning conditions for their students. Here are the concerns that keep them up at night:
- Lack of resources: “Last year, we were at the bottom of the list for basic needs such as Kleenex and pencils,” said Deb. “Sharing our school with another school was very hard on our students – as they had to observe the new school getting designer furniture, huge banners, and an all-around makeover. It’s can be difficult.”
- Lack of time: Both sisters say they need more time to be able to review and analyze data, student work and have more time to communicate with peers and students.
- Ensuring respect: The sisters both feel respected at Kepner Legacy, but hear different opinions when they attend meetings outside the school. They think it’s critical that all educators feel respected.
- Teacher salaries: “We need to catch up to other occupations as we are not paying teachers enough!” Loyeen said.
- Seniority safeguards: “We need to have this back into our contract so we keep veteran teachers around!” Deb said.
Despite any challenges, both Deb and Loyeen are thrilled to be carrying on the family tradition of providing the schools Denver students deserve.
“We would have to say that the most inspiring part of our jobs is when our students come back and tell us accomplishments they have made or going to make in their life,” said Deb. “We have had many of our students become teachers. We are lucky to have fantastic students and a dedicated staff. This journey might have never started without having the best parents in the world!”
If you know of a DCTA teacher that should be featured here, please email their name and contact information to Amber Wilson – DCTA Secretary.