SUEperwoman: Bringing Joy and So Much More from the Philippines to the Rio Grande Valley

An IDEA staff spotlight on Sue Gayle Devaras-Marticio 

We sat down with Sue Gayle Devaras-Marticio, an advanced and AP (Advanced Placement) Physics Teacher at IDEA College Preparatory San Juan. Sue is currently participating in a teacher exchange program from the “beautiful Archipelago, The Pearl of the Orient – Philippines!” Sue has two amazing children, Mary Venus Gabrielle D. Marticio and Michael Art Derrick D. Marticio, both of whom currently attend IDEA San Juan and are “proud IDEA San Juan Saints,” noted Sue.  

Sue holds an undergraduate degree in physics from Philippine Normal University and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching, Natural Sciences at Leyte Normal University, along with a Master of Education degree in Physics from the University of the Philippines – Cebu. What’s more, she is pursuing her doctorate in Physics! 

We had a wonderful time chatting with Sue, who touched on her journey in education, her bond with her students, and the immeasurable benefits of celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month and accepting all people.  

How did you get into education and your current role at IDEA?  

At first, I was unsure of whether I wanted to be a teacher. I choose this path because during that time, it was the best scholarship and academic offer I had to benefit my family and me. Eventually, I got the hang of it and realized that maybe I am really meant to teach! When I was young, people told me I’d be a great teacher. My elementary and high school teachers would let me tutor or present in other classes. They were convinced back then, but it was only me who didn’t recognize the calling until later! 

In my teaching journey, I taught at three private schools in the Philippines, two Chinese schools, and one elite, exclusive private school for girls. Then I connected with The Department of Education – Philippine Public School System for a decade before moving to the University of Southern Philippines Foundation.

How did I get to IDEA? At the university one day, we hosted a career program and invited FCEC (Foreign Cultural Exchange Consultants). I told my students, what a great example if I apply just to show we walk the talk, right? The rest, as they say, is history. Through a great program called GeoVisions, I first thought I was going to be placed in the Permian Basin region, where I met the amazing Hailey Mccarthy, Executive Principal at IDEA Travis. I still laugh about my teaching demo. I had this silly paper hat that I forgot to take off after my teaching demo was over, and everyone thought that paper hat was the sign that I got the job! 

Unfortunately, for various reason, the predominant one being COVID-19, my journey to the United States and to IDEA Public Schools was delayed. But good things come to those who wait, and eventually I came to find a teaching home at IDEA San Juan, where I am so proud and grateful for my amazing principal, mentor, and friend, Lindsey Campbell. At IDEA San Juan, I would be remiss if I didn’t also give a shoutout to my extra support system and IDEA family, the STEAM Machine, TEAM Zambronies, Science Team, AP Physics & the amazing Grade 11 Team, plus my wonderful advisory kids in the House of Berkeley 210. 

I love the shoutouts, and that is quite a journey! How did your upbringing influence this journey?  

Well, I have five siblings, and I was the second child but the eldest among the girls. I was thrown into many adult duties in the early years of my life. My mom said elder daughters should be hardworking, all around—I have a supermom—and should be of great service to all family members. My mom and dad also did everything in their power to ensure we did well in school. Education is the only treasure that no one can take away. They also taught me to have a great worth ethic and to value family, which is why I love the IDEA core value of Team & Family! We should always collaborate, communicate, ask for help, extend help, and pay it forward. We should love and be loved and inspire others to be better versions of themselves and make a difference in other people’s life and in the society. I learned that within my family at home, and those lessons are being taught here at IDEA, too. Finally, never forget the joy factor. Always look at the bright side. Nothing comes easy, but if you enjoy the ride, in the end, everything will be fine. Be happy. Happiness is contagious. Whatever life throws at you is just a piece of cake…if you are lucky, you get icing too! Again, I love the We Bring Joy IDEA core value for this reason.  

It sounds like IDEA San Juan was a perfect fit for your passions and values. What is your favorite thing about your role?  

I would say my favorite things are the joy of being able to teach students that science and physics is actually fun and relatable! Plus, I absolutely love getting to know as many kids and being part of their life journey, especially their achievements and milestones. I take great pride in being a “School MOM” at IDEA San Juan and a “SUEper Mom” at home with my children.  

Did you find it challenging to adjust to living in a new place and new culture? 

I immediately felt that feeling of being home, and I saw that this place (the Rio Grande Valley) is beautiful. The culture here is very familial, and that is the way the Filipino culture is too. So, it really wasn’t difficult for me to be part of the community. I think it also helped that some Filipinos and Filipino communities are also here in the RGV, and lucky me, I have a Filipino workmate! I also want to give a special shoutout to Julyan Badon, AP Geography Teacher, Queen Claire Martin, Regional Math Coach, and Crischelle Navalta Barnes, Director of Teacher Leadership Programs–all IDEA friends and fellow Filipinos!

What does Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?  

All the highlights and the appreciation are new and overwhelming for me. We don’t celebrate much stuff like this in the Philippines. I always enjoy celebrations, and I believe it feels good to celebrate wins regardless of whether those wins are big or small. Having this affiliation makes me proud to belong to a group and have an identity. Aside from the feeling of belongingness, it inspires me, motivates me and makes me feel more confident because history and my present experience shows that our group can actually have a part in making the world a better place. We don’t have to be afraid to show the world what we can really put on the table and that with our talents and abilities, we can make a difference and bring positive change.  

Is there anything you wish more people understood about your background or the Asian American-Pacific Islander community as a whole?  

Filipinos in general are more than the best noodles and food that Asia or the Pacific can offer. We are more than the fair to brown skin, beautiful faces, and big smiles. We are more than the beautiful and scenic spots and shorelines. We take pride from our group being resourceful, multi-talented, skilled, and hardworking. We impact society, touch lives, and make a difference beyond borders and across the globe. We work hard and give the best service, always with joy in mind and heart. 

 

We are so glad Sue is part of the IDEA Team & Family. To learn more about our core values, click here, and to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at IDEA, click here.   

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