“If a student was upset about something, Ms. Flores would stand by patiently until they calmed down and then quietly discussed with them how to manage the problem together. Every year, you could see tons of students mature as they emulated how she interacted with them.” — Eileen Rivera, describing her colleague Omara Flores, a beloved assistant principal at P.S. 95 Sheila Mencher in the Bronx, where she worked for nineteen of her twenty-nine years with the DOE.
For nearly twenty years at P.S. 95, Ms. Flores immersed herself in every aspect of life at her school. Her responsibilities included overseeing seventh and eighth grade, serving as coordinator for the multi-language learning program, and supervising assessments, science education, after-school activities, graduation ceremonies, and myriad other duties.
Principal Serge Davis says, “Ms. Flores was a true professional who was really focused on improving each and every day to empower the lives of her teachers, students, and families. She approached the work with great integrity, humility, and empathy.”
Former students who returned to visit P.S. 95 always made a point of seeking out Ms. Flores to thank her for all she did for them. Principal Davis said that since Ms. Flores passed away, several students have told him that they are dedicating themselves to doing well in the years ahead because they know that’s what Ms. Flores would have wanted.
Nick Merchant, an English teacher who had known Ms. Flores for twenty years and been supervised by her for fourteen, posted this tribute on social media: “Early on, she took me under her wing and helped guide me as an educator. Every day, I would pop into her office to say good morning, share a prayer, and discuss what I was going to teach for that day. There was no one else in that building who could hold me up when the chips were down and my back was against the wall. Omara was there for me every time. I would find solace in her office in the most tumultuous times. I could bring her my bad news, and I would leave with next steps.”
Though her students and colleagues mourn her tragic passing, the positive example Ms. Flores set for them is a gift that will last their lifetimes.