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Locals embrace newest teachers

112 taste hospitality

More than 100 teachers recently hired by Madera Unified for the upcoming school year were given an overwhelming dose of down-home hospitality by the school district, the Madera Association of Realtors, and the Madera District Chamber of Commerce.

Labeled as a “Welcome to the Heroes, Workforce, and Housing Tour,” the teachers were taken on a three hour drive Thursday through the district to see first hand the schools where they will be teaching, the communities they will serve, and the housing opportunities that exist in Madera.

The day began in the cafeteria at Madera South High School with a continental breakfast followed by an impassioned welcome by master of ceremonies Carles Beckett, a retired administrator on special assignment

While MUSD administrators and two board members looked on, the inimitable Beckett warmed his guests up with some icebreaker games. Then he introduced the new teachers to Superintendent Ed Gonzalez who echoed Beckett’s enthusiastic welcome.

They were introduced to MUSD’s administrative staff, after which board president Al Galvez and trustees Rick Arredondo and Ed McIntyre added their greetings.

At 8:30 the teachers boarded three air-conditioned buses for a guided tour of Madera’s school communities. The entourage left MSHS and traveled past 15 MUSD schools as well as the sites of Virginia Lee Rose Elementary and the new high school.

Tour guides were on each of the buses to identify significant points of interest along the way. Each bus also had a representative from the Association of Realtors to offer tips on the housing opportunities at each school community.

At each school site, the educators gained insight into the various communities making up MUSD and some of the history of those communities.

At 11:30, the buses arrived at the San Joaquin Wine Company for lunch.

Waiting to enhance Madera’s welcome to the teachers were school district employees, representatives of the Madera Association of Realtors, caterers from Players BBQ, and a host of city and county political leaders.

Although Beckett continued to set the tone for the day, he did invite several dignitaries to the microphone for personal expressions of congratulations for having chosen to teach in Madera Unified. Many invited the educators to consider joining their colleagues who already live in Madera.

The teachers were advised of an FHA program that provides assistance for teachers, veterans, and first responders in purchasing a home if it is located in the area in which they work.

Local realtors and vendors served, with clockwork precision, the chicken and tri-tip meals catered by Players, and then accomplished the cleanup duties.

After drawings for prizes, which included baskets of educational supplies, the teachers and their hosts reboarded the buses for the return to MSHS.

According to Alex Salazar, president of the Madera Association of Realtors, the local group, through a grant from the National Association of Realtors, spent $4,000 on the meal, the venue, and a promotional publication.

Salazar emphasized that the widespread community outreach to the teachers represented a sincere desire to make the newcomers feel welcome. From Madera Unified, to the Association of Realtors, to the Madera Chamber of Commerce, nothing was held back to show that the entire community of Madera values its teachers.

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