OKLAHOMA CITY — Fourteen teachers from Puerto Rico arrived at Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday.
They were recruited by the Oklahoma City School District to serve their ever-growing Spanish-speaking population.
“Hola! Woo! Bienvenidos, bienvenidos.”
You would have thought rock stars were landing at the airport. They’re teachers, but to the OKC School District, they’re better than rock stars.
“It’s so exciting. We’ve been waiting for this day for several months,” one of the teachers, Shannon Freeman said.
The 14 teachers are in Oklahoma for the first time ever, and were greeted with cloudy skies and rain.
“They were telling us that they were anxious to see Oklahoma from the sky, but it’s been so overcast,” Freeman said.
“It’s perfect because in Puerto Rico we have drought,” Carlos Alvarez said.
Carlos Alvarez says he doesn’t really know what to expect here, but he’s excited for the challenge.
“I told myself, well, it’s a good environment where I can teach all the latins people here that they don’t know how to speak English, I know I can help them,” Alvarez said.
“Something totally new and I’m up for the challenge. Just excited to be here,” Christian Vargas said.
Wilmiris Rodriguez, her husband, and their two kids packed their lives into 16 bags. Whatever didn’t fit…was sold.
“We were waiting for this moment since September so ah, we’re finally here so we’re ready to start this new life, this new adventure,” Rodriguez said.
School officials say Oklahoma teacher salaries surpass Puerto Rico’s, making the offers attractive enough to lure the teachers more than 2,200 miles from home.
Their chariots awaited, and they boarded the bus taking them off to start their new lives.
And school officials are hoping to ultimately hire up to 40 teachers from Puerto Rico.
The teachers that arrived today have three weeks of training ahead of them, and they’ll be ready to go for the upcoming school year.