BROOKESMITH — Mitsy Paz grew up as the daughter of educators, and the idea of becoming a teacher herself was always in the back of her mind.

But Paz, a 2006 graduate of Brookesmith High School, didn’t pursue teaching as her first interest. She was more interested in finance, and she obtained a finance degree from Tarleton State University.

But working in a bank in San Angelo, “it just didn’t feel right,” Paz said. “I had such a strong interest in finance and accounting, that whole world. I thought that’s what I wanted to do, and I thought, live in a big city. But that wasn’t where my heart was. It was in a small town … small town, small school, that’s just where I was happy.”

Paz earned a teaching certificate through the alternative certification program, and she began working as a teacher in the Brookesmith school district in 2011. She teaches math in grades 6, 7 and 8, and algebra I in grade 9.

“I like the small class size,” Paz said. “I like the that everybody knowns everybody, the traditions that we have here. We have good kids.”

Paz grew up as Mitsy Schoen and went to school in Sidney and Moran before the family moved to Brookesmith in 2004, where Paz finished her junior and senior years. She graduated in the same class as Matthew Paz, her high school sweetheart and future husband. Matthew Paz works at Pioneer Sands in Brady.

Paz’s father, Willie Schoen, continues to teach ad education in Brookesmith. Her mother, who also taught in Brookesmith, has retired from teaching.

“How I got into finance is, here at Brookesmith my junior and senior year, I took accounting,” Paz said. “And I really got into accounting and learned to like it, and then I ended up majoring in finance because I liked finance better.”

Paz said she loves teaching math. “And one of the reasons I love teaching here, specifically, is I get to teach sixth, seventh and eighth grades,” Paz said. “Last year I taught fifth grade. So sometimes I will have these same kids for four years in a row. What I really love is the growth that they make and how good of a math student they can become.”

Paz said she “absolutely” made the right decision to become a teacher. “I’ve never looked back,” Paz said. “This is what my calling was. It makes me happy.”