Collegiate Graduate Returns to Teach in Cedar Hill ISD

At 21 years old, Jennifer Sanchez is the youngest full time teacher in Cedar Hill Independent School District.

And her rise from high school graduate to certified teacher in less than three years can be directly attributed to her success in the Collegiate High School program.

Sanchez graduated from Collegiate in May 2019 and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education/Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) in December 2021.

“I was very determined to become a teacher,” said Sanchez, who is a Fifth Grade Mathematics Teacher at High Pointe Elementary. “I love impacting children and seeing the ‘a-ha’ moments. It was important for me to come back to Cedar Hill ISD – the district that gave me so many opportunities.”

Sanchez, a Cedar Hill citizen, enrolled in Cedar Hill ISD as a Pre-K Scholar at Bray Elementary in the summer of 2005 and matriculated to West Intermediate. 

Tracey Willyard, an Instructional Coordinator for CHISD’s Technology Department, taught Sanchez in Kindergarten at Bray in 2006-2007.

Sanchez began Collegiate High School in the summer of 2015.

“The teachers that I had my freshman year at Collegiate shaped the teacher that I am today,” Sanchez said. “All of my classes at Collegiate were meaningful.”

While at High Pointe, Sanchez was part of the Pan American Debate Team and she qualified for the Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Competition. The current Collegiate Class of 2022 seniors were freshmen when Sanchez was a senior. She recruited many of them to join BPA in 2018-2019.

When Sanchez graduated from Collegiate in 2019 with an Associate’s Degree from Dallas College, she chose SFA on the strong recommendation of then-Collegiate Dean of Students Benjamin Hairgrove.

She entered SFA as a junior and excelled academically there, but she didn’t get to experience much of the college life in Texas’ oldest city or the scenic East Texas Piney Woods.

During the spring semester of her first year in Nacogdoches, the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, and Sanchez returned to Cedar Hill to take her SFA classes virtually.

By the fall 2021 semester, Sanchez was completing her student teaching, with Kimberly Sparks at High Pointe.

Sanchez was the first member of her family to graduate from college. Her younger sister, Jessica, graduated from Collegiate in 2020 and is now a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Her older brother, John Sanchez, graduated from Cedar Hill High School in 2016 and also works at High Pointe; he is a Physical Education Aide.

“My family has worked very hard – I feel a lot of pride in my family,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said she plans to begin a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of North Texas.

“My goal is to teach the next US President,” Sanchez said. “I think that would be awesome to be part of a president’s life.”