Manager of the Month: a Love for Learning Led Plomaritas to the Classroom

January 27, 2017




Photo by Emily Garcia: Manager of the Month Danielle Plomaritas

Photo by Emily Garcia: Manager of the Month Danielle Plomaritas

By Amber Romero

Danielle Plomaritas, January’s Manager of the Month, says she was “hooked”  on teaching after taking her first education class. Voted by the student as “Most Likely to be Called Mom,” in the yearbook, Plomaritas said fostering relationships and working hard is something she tries to impart on all scholars. 

Did you expect to be manager of the month and how did you feel?   

No, I’m so surprised! And happy!

Why do you think scholars voted for you?

To paraphrase my 7th period scholars, they said it’s because I’m “awesome” and because I’m “pregnant.” So perhaps because I’m awesomely pregnant?

At what point in your life did you decide to become a teacher? How did it happen?  

Looking back, I think I wanted to be a teacher since I was young, as evidenced by my famous teacher barbie which was a gift from my parents in middle school.  I decided in college to go into teaching, after researching how hard it was to get a job with only a bachelor’s degree in biology. Once I took an education class, I was hooked. So, my undergraduate degree is in biology with a high school teaching license. I also obtained a master’s degree in science education and a master’s degree in biomedical science.

How did you get started in teaching?

My first job teaching was in rural, farm land Virginia where I taught biology and anatomy for 3 years. Then I moved to New Mexico for graduate school and started at ASK upon graduating. I’ve also been teaching college biology since 2009.

What led you to biology?

I teach biology, AP biology, anatomy as a regular class and dual enrollment class with CNM, biomedical sciences, and human body systems. I’ve always loved biology and in high school fell in love with anatomy while taking an anatomy class. Specifically, dissecting a cow heart was the activity that made me love anatomy.  I’m a nerd who sees biological processes in everyday objects. Just last night at my CNM class, I was comparing the process of blood clotting to making spaghetti topped with super glue. I also have a fake theme park of anatomy based rides called Plomaritas Paradise I use for examples.

What kind of student were you in high school?  

I took advanced and college classes, had an above 4 GPA, studied all the time, and loved learning. I was a leader in a Christian club at my high school as well.  Outside of school, I worked part time at a local pharmacy.

Who were the teachers or people who influenced you in your life?  

My high school anatomy teacher influenced me to go into science and teaching. My parents and grandparents are all teachers and professors and played a role in my career development.

What is the hardest part about teaching high school?    

The hardest part is also a good part, that students are becoming more independent and making their own choices. This can be great, for example, choosing to study for tests,  but it can also make my job difficult when students choose poor behavior or academic habits.

What is the best part about teaching?

Being paid to talk all day about my favorite subject and form mentoring relationships with teens is the best gig ever.

What do you dislike the most about teaching?

Paperwork, dealing with the business side of education, not having enough time and resources, and when students are disrespectful.

What makes ASK scholars different than other students?

Many ASK scholars have a genuine interest in our classes, which makes my job much easier.

What makes ASK different than other schools?

Our specialized classes and relationships with staff and scholars.

Which managers made you feel comfortable when you were new to ASK?  

I was new 2 years ago.  Everyone did, but especially Karen Pierce who is no longer at the school. She was my next door neighbor manager and the other biomed manager.

What are your hobbies?

Between my husband, 2 year old, son coming in June, and jobs, there is little time for hobbies.  My husband just finished law school full time, and will be on the job hunt after taking The Bar Exam. Our life is very busy, but I enjoy watching movies, trying new restaurants, and bargain shopping-  oh and of course we are Green Bay Packer fans!

Tell us what you do when you are not teaching? 

I’m home with my husband and son. I am learning more and more to protect my “off” time to spend with family and on my own well being. This is especially hard in education where there is always something to do (grading, planning, etc.); but defining boundaries is really important.

What has been the most profound experience you have had teaching this year?  

This year I initiated teaching a dual enrollment class, anatomy/physiology, on our campus through CNM. It’s been a lot of work getting the class going and involved meeting with leaders at CNM and ASK, getting the class approved, getting textbooks, following CNM procedures, getting lab supplies, and more. ASK purchased the textbooks and I applied for and won a $3,000 grant for lab supplies. Parents also donated about $500 through Donor’s Choose for histology slides. This has been a profound experience for me to experience just how difficult it can be to pursue positive changes in education, but also how generous and supportive the community is to support it.

What piece of advice would you give to high school scholars based on your knowing experience?  

Well, my biomed scholars already know my life advice dating rules (you can ask a scholar if you don’t know them). Beyond this, I hope scholars strive for their goals such as think about the consequences of their actions, be kind and brave, remember relationships, family, and doing good for others is most important in life.




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