22 Jan Wendy Beserra
I was born in Silver City, New Mexico in 1947, two years after the end of World War II. My parents were two remarkable people; both were respected leaders in the community, both in their own ways, and role models for me. I attended the elementary school established by New Mexico Western College to provide “student teacher” experience for seniors soon to graduate from the College of Education. Looking back, now, I believe I was inspired by those student teachers — more than my classroom teachers — and ultimately, I became a licensed teacher myself. I attended Arizona State University, earning a B.A. in English Education in 1969.
I studied my junior year (1967-68) in Italy at the Loyola of Chicago’s Rome Center. I believe that experience, more than anything in my life, opened me up to the world of opportunities. A year of traveling throughout Europe and the United Kingdom — and establishing lifelong friends, many of whom I stay in touch with even now — helped shape my appreciation for learning and traveling. Another educational experience I value include attending summer school at the Breadloaf School of English in Vermont (1984) and in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1985).
I taught English and Composition at three high schools in New Mexico for 10 years:
Los Lunas High School — 1973-1978
Silver High School — 1978 -1981
Deming High School — 1992 -1994
I served as a Professor of Education and Developmental Studies at Western New Mexico University from 1981 – 1984.
During that time, I taught English 101 and 102, Developmental Reading and Writing I and II, and History and Philosophy of Education. I also served as the Director of the Learning Resource Center. One assignment I will always cherish was serving on the North Central Accreditation Team for the Gadsden and Tularosa schools.
In 1987, I was selected to serve as the Dean of Student Affairs at Western New Mexico University where I managed all non-academic support services (Housing, Financial Aid, Student Activities, etc.). In 1991, I moved to California and served as the Dean of Student Affairs at San Bernardino Community College for two years.
My final work experience, and the one I cherish most of all, was my 20 years as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments. I often told my clients I was still “just a teacher.” It has been the single most important work I have done in my 73 years; I always knew that, when a client left my office, she/he was better off having come in. I retired in 2018.