SIGNAL PEAK — Math instructor and Casa Grande resident Omar Villa has been named Faculty Member of the Year by Central Arizona College.
The award recognizes faculty who have made a difference in the lives of students inside and outside the classroom.
Faculty members who earn the award are considered role models for students as they demonstrate excellence in instruction as well as leadership and a passion for helping students learn.
CAC students nominated Villa for the award.
“Villa portrays caring and success in his teaching. He is an exemplary professor that helps ease his students in his classes and about math,” one nomination letter said. “He makes sure his students learn to do math most easily and effectively. He pays attention to detail in his students and the ones who struggle in his math classes. He makes sure that everyone has a chance to pass his math class regardless if he must tutor on his days off or between classes.”
In the nomination, a student wrote that Villa showed the class different styles to approaching equations.
“I have also referred other students to take his classes because he is an exceptional professor. He cares and tries to help all his students pass his classes. He is very approachable and easy to talk to. I admire how (Villa) has the patience and non-judgmental on anyone that struggles in his classes. That is why I nominate him for this award,” the nomination read.
Villa attended CAC after graduating from high school and completed an associate degree. He transferred to Arizona State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computational mathematical sciences. He later attended Western Governors University and obtained a master’s in mathematics education.
While a student at CAC, Villa became a mathematics tutor, working under Jane Ellen Reid in the Interactive Learning Center. He retained his position as a part-time mathematics tutor while attending ASU.
In 2010, Villa returned to CAC as a full-time instructional specialist and in 2018 became a member of the mathematics faculty.
“It was a wonderful moment in my family’s life,” he said.
Villa’s advice to students is to laugh off stress.
“Stress is your biggest enemy in learning. Procrastination causes lots of stress. Also, laugh at all my jokes/stories,” he said.
He plans to continue teaching and incorporating learning skills such as test-taking strategies, time management, note taking and stress management in his courses to allow students to grow academically, the press release said.
Outside of his work at CAC, Villa enjoys coaching. He currently manages a small soccer club and coaches a team that travels around the state.
He credits the CAC Mathematics Department for the award.
“This award reflects their camaraderie and leadership,” he said.