“It’s all about watching the students grow,” Carmel High math teacher Juan Gomez says, “and taking pride in knowing that however big or small, I was part of their becoming.”
Gomez is a warm, accessible, enthusiastic, and caring teacher who creates a sense of community in the classroom. He makes time to help all of his students with anything, school related or not.
“Gomez is one of the most helpful and soft-hearted men you will ever encounter,” says Ryin Alexander, a former student of Gomez’s. “When he found out I was going to Humboldt State University, he gave me contacts of his family and friends who live there who would help me get a job and support me in my new community.”
Gomez has an intangible amount of love and care for both his students and his friends and fellow faculty. He always makes it clear that his door is open to anyone whether you are a student of his or not.
“Look,” Gomez says. “If you’re going to tell me something, just know that I’m going to pay attention, listen attentively, and remember that you said that.”
Not only is Gomez a dedicated teacher, but he is also a devoted father to a two-year-old girl named Lena and a husband to his wife, Beth. He spends all of his free time going to different parks in the community, My Museum, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Lena.
“The man deeply cares about his friends and family, and that care is reflected in how he approaches his students,” colleague Marc Stafford says.
How did this wonderful individual start out by aspiring to be a pilot, then an electrical engineer, and end up becoming an inspirational math teacher and a devoted father?
Gomez has had a fascinating past full of laughter, family, and adventure. Coming from a very large and close-knit family, he learned the value of money and only having what he needed.
“I grew up in a family where I felt like I didn’t need anything else,” Gomez says. “And whenever I wanted something, I would think about who really needs that.”
Instead of spending money on material things, he spent much of his time running marathons, surfing, and camping all the way up and down the California coast. It was during one of these random trips in 2010 that he met a girl and after talking to her for the first time, he knew that he was going to marry her. After two years of chasing her, he finally married his wife, Beth, on the anniversary of the day they met.
While it seems as if everything has fallen into place for Gomez, this was not always the case. He struggled in college trying to figure out what career he wanted to pursue in his life.
After his dream of becoming a pilot in the Air Force was crushed because of his eyesight, he majored in electrical engineering because of his love for math and science. After finding that electrical engineering involved computer programming, he decided to make another career switch.
In the meantime, he was tutoring students in math to help pay for his college, and he found that every day he looked forward to those times that he got to spend helping his students. It was then that he realized that he enjoyed finding a way to teach that worked for both him and the student.
“It was just fun,” Gomez says. “I just had a good dynamic when I was put in a teaching position. With everyone I worked with we just figured out what was going to work for them and what was going to work for me, and we were just off!”
Gomez understands that not every student learns in the same way as the person next to them and has dedicated his career to finding a way to teach every individual student so he or she comprehends the lesson. He is exceptional at thinking outside the box with his lesson plans that connect with each student in his classroom.
“Gomez is such an exceptional teacher that cares so much for the well-being of his students,” says Tom Clifford, a fellow teacher. “My son struggled with math when taught in a traditional manner, but the experience in Mr. Gomez’s class was the most positive he has ever had.”
Gomez has made a tremendous impact not only on Carmel High School as a whole, but on the individual students who were lucky enough to have him as a teacher.