World Language department welcomes Señora Nava

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Lauren Hawkinson

Señora Bernice Nava sits at her desk surrounded by various cultural items related to her home country of Mexico.

As school starts, Benilde-St. Margaret’s welcomes twelve new staff members to the community. Amongst the crowd is senior high Spanish IV teacher Berenice Nava, whose students address her as Señora Nava.

Nava was born in Juarez, Mexico where her full name was Blanca Berenice Nava Franco. Moving from Mexico to the United States, Nava was surprised to see how many people wanted to learn more about her culture and her language. “To see how other people were interested in my language made me want to teach,” Nava said.

Nava studied at the Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez in Juarez, Mexico. Graduating with a degree in engineering, Nava began working for American based companies such as Delphi Technologies and Lear Co. (manufacturing company). She moved to South Carolina and has made Minnesota her home for the time being. “I feel very privileged to have worked for those companies because I had access to many advances in technology and had the opportunity to travel. Working for these companies gave me access to practice my English a lot,” Nava said.

She embraces her love of her language and wishes to share it with her students. “You are able to see things in a different way. [Being bilingual] opens the eyes and mind,” Nava said.

Prior to accepting BSM’s teaching offer, Nava had not heard of the school. One day, she began browsing new schools and stumbled upon the BSM website. Being a devout Catholic herself, she grew fond of the school’s Catholic background and how they implement religion in the students’ curriculum. “I love the idea of having my faith be a part of my job. It was a dream come true,” Nava said.

I am excited to see my students shift and become self-aware that they can do it because I know they can.”

— Berenice Nava

Prior to moving to BSM, Nava was approached by a friend asking if she desired to teach Spanish at a local school. She accepted the offer and began working to earn her Master’s degree in teaching. Nava taught at Prior Lake Spanish Immersion (kindergarten), then made the switch to Burnsville high school and middle school. “I loved the immersion experience, but it was a lot of work. I started to love my teaching profession when I started teaching at the high school, and that’s what I wanted to keep doing”, Nava said.

Nava is ecstatic being a new teacher here at BSM but especially for her Spanish class. “I am excited to see my students shift and become self-aware that they can do it because I know they can,” Nava said.

Outside of school, Nava enjoys spending time with her husband and her two children Marco and Camilla. Though their family does not own a dog, they have created a group chat to keep tabs on their neighbor’s dog as if it were their own. Nava also enjoys spending time tending to her garden at home. Nava was also a writer in the Prior Lake American newspaper.