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Kreitz seeks ‘whole person’ education

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Vivi Kreitz of All Saints Catholic School has made the education of young children her life’s vocation.
“As a teacher, you are always learning,” said Kreitz, who teaches kindergarten. “I have learned many things from my own students. They can be the best teachers.”
All Saints’ mission, said Kreitz, is to “educate the whole child.” Students from kindergarten through eighth grade learn about religion, attend church and receive instruction in the usual academic subjects.
Kreitz said that she considers the love of teaching and students, patience and an understanding that children learn differently as important factors to success in the classroom. The principles she teaches students are self-discipline and striving for the best.
“In my room, we only have one rule that we go by, to always make good choices,” she said. “The best reward for me as a teacher is to see my little students succeed. I push them to their full potential, and it is very hard for me when I am not able to reach a child. That is the most difficult thing. I do have high expectations of each one of them.”
Kretiz earned her degree from the University of Chihuahua and has taught preschool and kindergarten for 30 years, joining All Saints about seven years ago as one of the founding teachers.
Kreitz said her classroom is equipped with the latest technology, including iPads and Promethean boards, and that her teaching methods include teaching phonics and using music as a way to instill lessons. She also was trained in the Montessori method and is a member of the International Montessori Society.
“It is a very interesting method. It gives the children choices and I like that,” she said.
She explained that, using the Montessori method, she has created learning centers in the classroom where students can enhance their studies by using various methods, including manipulatives, to learn about subjects. She remembers one particular student who benefited a great deal from the instruction.
She said he had been to a lot of preschool classes before he arrived at hers and, in addition to health problems, had evident problems paying attention and sitting still.
“He was a very hands-on learner, and, when nothing else would work, he would go to his center and do his math work, like counting and letters and stacking blocks and that sort of thing. And slowly he started calming down. He looked forward to coming to school every day. I could see that he was changing his behavior, and his way of paying attention and pretty much his whole way of learning.”
That student is now married with a family and an “awesome young man,” Kretiz said, her eyes welling up with tears.
Kreitz’s own family includes a “very supportive” husband, Floyd; three children, two of whom graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute; and seven grandchildren.
A fellow teacher calls Kreitz the “founding rock” that the school is built on. Kreitz started the school, first-grade teacher Berta Reyes said, after St. Peter’s school closed, teaching a few students in the church building. Soon, there were enough for a few classes and eventually enough for an entire K-8 program with its own building. “This was her dream,” said Reyes.
Principal Kendra Mathison said, “She is a very dedicated teacher who enriches her students on a daily basis with her teaching skills and is always researching to offer more to them. Mathison added that Kreitz’s methods and skills earn the respect of her students as well as their parents.
“Working here at All Saints gives me the opportunity to teach about my faith,” said Kreitz, “and that is very important.”
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Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.