Earning a high school diploma was a major challenge for Tammy Rivera-Tubbs, who was caring for a 6-month-old baby boy at graduation time. Almost 30 years later, the Moorpark mother of six completed her doctorate in educational leadership and was selected to speak on behalf of her class at CLU’s Graduate Commencement ceremony in May.
Rivera-Tubbs’ parents were high school dropouts who placed a high value on education and had dreams of their daughter going to college. She hid her pregnancy from them for nearly half a year before finally having to witness their tears and disappointment. Still, they supported her and her decision to keep the baby. A few years after high school, she joined the Air Force, and she met her husband, Richard Tubbs, while they were both stationed in Korea.
When Rivera-Tubbs decided to leave the Air Force in 1996 with no idea of what she would do next, it was her husband who inspired her “to go the distance, to be more than I thought I could be,” she said.
What she did next was complete college and become a special education teacher. She also earned master’s degrees in special education and educational administration and has worked as a middle school teacher, dean of at-risk students and summer school assistant principal. She currently teaches in the Oxnard School District.
“I wanted to give my children the opportunity to go to college,” Rivera-Tubbs told the Commencement audience. The next day, she watched her daughter Brittany graduate from CLU and, in June, watched daughter Tajah graduate from Stanford University.