#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Kristie Ulibarri


Kristie Ulibarri is originally from New Mexico, but has been teaching in Dallas, Texas at North Dallas High School, for 8 years. Originally, she didn’t want to be a teacher; she wanted to do anything but teach. She knew that she wanted to help people somehow. She was convinced to give education a try and ended up loving it. She earned her BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of New Mexico in 2002. In 2004 she was awarded a MA in Secondary Education from University of New Mexico. Having such a diverse population of students made her wants to serve them better. In 2011, she decided to go back to school for a second Master’s degree in Special Education from Texas A&M-Commerce.

She always taught high school and junior high. She’s also coached track and field, and basketball. Most recently, she was a volunteer wrestling coach in which she had 3 girls advance to state, which was the first time in the history of the school. One student was the state wrestling champion for the first time in the school and district’s history. Through sports, Kristie was able to learn about her students beyond the classroom.

Kristie has a five-year-old daughter who just finished kindergarten. She has tried to instill the importance of education. She believes it is important that her daughter understand that in order to have a bright future, she has to be willing to work hard in school. She also tries to make sure that she is involved in extracurricular activities.

In her spare time, she volunteers at my church, Covenant Church in Carrollton, as a camera operator in the media department. She has volunteered for Operation Care, a program to give homeless people gifts and services during the Christmas season.

Why do you teach? I teach because it’s my way to give back to the future of tomorrow. I hope to make students see the importance of education and being a productive citizen and in turn they can do the same for someone else.

What do you love about teaching? I love teaching because I know that I’m giving back to the future. There is a child who I teach who will also make a difference and help someone else and that person will help someone and so on. It’s a circle of giving and making a difference and creating contributors of a society that they can be proud of. I love that no one day is the same. Each day in the classroom is a different adventure. It will never get boring, and at times it can be very challenging, but at the end of the day, I may have helped at least one person.

When you were a student, was there a teacher who inspired you? When I was young, I had two teachers who stick out in my mind. Ms. Rita Martinez was my 5th grade teacher; she was a strict firecracker. She taught me to be responsible and really care about the work that I do because it shouldn’t be done half way. It needs to be done fully and to my full potential. She was tough as nails and always made me do my best. She didn’t take any lip from anyone and taught me not to make excuses for not doing what I need to do.

Mr. Robert Abney was my teacher, coach, sponsor and boss in my high school years. He taught me that teachers can be humorous, nice and teach their students, while still maintaining respect. He helped me to become interested in journalism and assisted me with my confidence in my writing as a high school student.