2013 Teacher of the Year

Ms. Mimi L. Renteria
Mountain View Elementary School
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District # 35
Principal: Mr. Manuel Carrillo

Dedication is more than staying way past the ringing of the last bell- it is more coming early or even coming in on weekends. It is what is done during that time that makes a teacher outstanding. A dedicated teacher takes the time to sufficiently prepare for their lessons. This time enables a teacher to clearly define what is to be taught, how to teach it at differentiated levels of instruction, how to assess what is being taught, finally how to re-teach the lesson for those students who were struggling.
Teacher of the year Ms. Mimi L. Renteria smiling proudly
Dedication is the belief that every child can learn and having the determination to find the paths to lead them there.
2013 Teacher of the Year Runner-Up
Ms. Diana G. Lopez
Challenger Elementary
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Mr. Wil Arias

It is my goal as an educator to help my students develop integrity and respect in a loving, nurturing and challenging classroom environment. I hope to foster trusting relationships with my students so that they feel unique and capable, valuable and successful. I want them to learn that hard work is a reward in itself and that it does pay off.
Image of Ms. Diana G. Lopez, Teacher at Challenger Elementary
When I look back at my teaching experiences which have included many highs and lows, I truly cannot imagine myself doing anything else. Teaching is my life’s motivation and gives me purpose. I thoroughly love what I do and I hope that it shows in my classroom and in the eyes and spirits of my students.
Ms. Yuki Carrillo
Peña Blanca Elementary School
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District # 35
Principal: Ms. Ivonne Ferreira

It’s my belief that all children can learn. It’s the goal of my classroom to create a productive learning environment. I am going to prepare everyday with the mindset of creating a spark within the minds of my students.
Image of Ms. Yuki Carrillo
Of course, I try to become aware of the strengths and weakness of each student through continuous assessment and observations because I will do whatever it takes to reach each one of my students to achieve their full potential. My rewards on teaching is just to help my students to have an “ah ah” moment, just to see a student finally succeed often several failures, to see that they are smiling because they “got it,” the sparkle of their eyes because they really understood the lesson, or just telling you “it wasn’t too difficult to do it."
Ms. Elizabeth Turner Thomson
Nogales High School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Ms. Judith Mendoza-Jimenez

I believe that my greatest contribution to education are my passion and commitment towards my profession. Everyday that I am in my classroom, I give my all to make sure that the students that I am teaching are engaged. I make sure that each individual student is treated with kindness and respect and I make it clear to them that I am not only there to teach them, but I am also there to help and guide them. I truly believe that teaching is the most rewarding career in the world.
Photograph of Ms. Elizabeth Turner Thomson
Whether you work with small children or college student, the difference you can make in their lives is immense.
Ms. Patricia M. Valenzuela
Wade Carpenter Middle School
Nogales Unified School District #1
Principal: Ms. Liza Montiel

Teaching is the art of juggling one’s educational beliefs while under the
world’s magnifying glass, trying to teach the student as a whole, not in parts. A mind and body are nothing to mess around or waste time with. I believe that if anyone has the opportunity to enhance another’s ability to improve, one should grab and positively influence, mold and nurture its growth.
Photograph featuring Ms. Patricia M. Valenzuela
I believe an outstanding teacher is one who gets to know every student on an individual basis, nurtures him/her like if they were their own and entice them to believe in themselves enough to become whatever they strive to be.
Ms. Paola Villarreal
Mary L. Welty Elementary School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Ms. Aissa Bonillas

I think the absolute greatest factor that makes me the teacher I am is, without a doubt, my relationship with God. He gives me the patience I need to be flexible to change, pull through every day, and remember the millions of to -do’s. He’s the one that reminds me that these 5th graders, although my height, are only 10 or 11 year old kids. He keeps me grounded so that I may always keep in mind that in the end, they’re human, and that helps me be more understanding towards them.
Ms. Paola Villarreal smiles for a picture
Ms. Claudia P. Acosta
Desert Shadows Middle School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Ms. Joan Molera

Teaching has been specially rewarding for me. I can honestly say that after all these years of teaching I still wake up every day eager to continue and take the challenge of teaching. Knowing that in my classroom I have an environment that helps students feel welcome and important give me satisfaction.
Picture featuring Ms. Claudia P. Acosta
This type of satisfaction is directly related to the feeling of accomplishment knowing I have worked tirelessly to shape my students’ minds and provide them with skills to survive the ever changing world around us.
Ms. Julie Ballard
Calabasas Middle School
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District # 35
Principal: Mr. David Verdugo

I believe that we need to recognize that not only are our students children, but they are human too. They need to be allowed to make mistakes, they need to every once in a while forget their homework at home without getting grilled about it, and every once in a while they need to be allowed to have a bad day without a call home.
Ms. Julie Ballard smiles for the camera
One of the rewards of teaching middle school is that not only can I allow them not to be perfect, but they can also forgive me for not being perfect as well. At some point, I will give the wrong answer or make a mistake in grading or leave my homework at home.
Mr. Philip Brown
Rio Rico High School
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District # 35
Principal: Ms. Shelly Vroegh

Teaching math involves fear management. It is an exercise in psychological training as much as it is a practice of instilling solid conceptual foundations. Nothing makes me more proud than when I see a student that returns years later and is mathematically proficient and successful.
Photo of Mr. Philip Brown
Often the students that are low performing are quiet, shy and uncomfortable in math class. When they develop the habits required for success in mathematics, their view of themselves improves. They grow as people.
Ms. Carmen B. Cintora
Robert M. Bracker Elementary School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Dr. Michelle Olguin

I strive to be a role model not only to my students, parents, co-workers, but also to my community. Service and giving is my motto. I don’t worry about what rewards I receive. I only worry about giving my students all the things they need but don’t have. I show my students that they are loved, are cared for, and they belong in our classroom community.
Ms. Carmen B. Cintora smiles for the camera
Taking care of my students’ social and emotional needs, in addition to the academics, is important to me. I firmly believe that all things that come from me will be returned to me.
Ms. Martina Martinez
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado Elementary School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Ms. Annette Barber

My personal teaching style requires me to wear a variety of hats in a normal teaching day. I am a cheerleader, a counselor, a mediator, a nurse, a disciplinarian, a secretary, a technician and facilitator of learning. I have often heard other teachers say how “needy” kinder students are. Well, I love being every single one of these things on a given day because that is what my students “need” from me.
Picture of Ms. Martina Martinez
I am the person they spend 7 hours a day within the confines of a classroom. Teaching, for me, goes beyond the Common Core Standards.
Ms. Dora Maria V. Medina
Lincoln Elementary School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Ms. Lucina Romero

Teaching is a very challenging, demanding, compromising and beautiful career. It can form or affect a child’s life. I believe that every child can learn, regardless of their background, language or family situation. Every child has the right to succeed. I believe that each and every child is unique and might have their own learning needs, but with patience, understanding and love they can gain knowledge.
Ms. Dora Maria V. Medina posing for a picture
It is my responsibility as a teacher to implement the best strategies and different modalities to help them achieve their future challenges.
Ms. Roxanne M. Teran
AJ Mitchell Elementary School
Nogales Unified School District # 1
Principal: Dr. Molly Cassidy

The reward that I find in teaching is almost as multifaceted as teaching itself. It is mid-lesson when all of the students are interacting with knowledge and I become a bystander, but the view is breathtaking. It is also when I see my previous elementary students in my college class continuing the lifelong skill of learning. What I share, teach, guide, promote or discuss with my students includes so much more than skills, strategies and “school.”
Picture depicting Ms. Roxanne M. Teran
It is the beginning of a life long journey of choices, responsibilities, collaboration and inspiration to do what is right, learn what is crucial and explore what is foreign.