More than a year and a half after resigning from Denton ISD amid an investigation into her conduct, Vanessa Suarez-Arispe has been reprimanded by the State Board for Educator Certification.
Following an investigation into allegations she had an improper relationship with a student, Suarez-Arispe’s teaching certifications were suspended for three years.
Numerous former students, co-workers and parents of students in her classes have spoken up in support of her since allegations came to light in September 2018.
According to the SBEC portal, she held three certifications catering to first- through sixth-graders: Elementary English, Elementary Self-Contained and Elementary Theatre Arts.
She also held a certification to teach English as a second language that was set to expire eight days after her suspension period is up.
They’re all set to reactivate in October 2022 unless reinstated earlier by the board.
Contacted by email Thursday, Suarez-Arispe directed questions to John McCormick, her Round Rock-based attorney. A call made just after 2 p.m. Thursday to McCormick’s office was not returned by Thursday evening.
After her resignation from Denton ISD, Suarez-Arispe maintained a tutoring business named Arispe Can Help. As of Thursday, the website appeared to have been taken down.
Mario Zavala, then a DISD spokesman, said in 2018 that the district had turned over its internal investigation to the Texas Education Agency upon its completion.
Denton police declined to file charges against her.
In September 2018, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported Judge Margaret Barnes signed off on a protective order forcing Suarez-Arispe to stay away from one of her former fifth-graders and his family.
At the time, she was accused of purchasing a burner phone for the student. According to court documents, she sent texts to the boy saying things such as “Good morning,” “Good night” and “I love you.”
When confronted by the child’s father about the phone, Suarez-Arispe allegedly said it was for a school project the child’s mother knew about. The mother denied those claims, according to a court affidavit.
Suarez-Arispe also allegedly stopped by the boy’s house with food on at least two occasions.
By Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency had not provided information about the disciplinary decision to suspend Suarez-Arispe’s certifications.
Seven Record-Chronicle readers submitted letters to the editor in the four months after the paper first reported on the issue. Each letter supported the former teacher, often describing her as a brilliant and beloved, if unorthodox, teacher.
“She regularly told both of our children that she loved them, as she did all of her students,” Mark Sandel wrote at the time.
“Initially, my mom was displeased with Ms. Suarez’s pushy personality and overcommunication,” wrote former student Jason Roddy. “After a few interactions with Ms. Suarez, my mom could see that my teacher’s heart was in the right place and that she truly cared about her students.”
While her teacher’s certification is suspended, Suarez-Arispe cannot be employed by a school district in many positions, including as a teacher, librarian, educational aide or administrator.