OELA Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

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This week and every week, OELA celebrates teachers and educators. As an expression of our gratitude, we would like to shout out our favorite teachers.
Thank you, teachers! We appreciate you!


Beatriz Ceja: My favorite teacher is Mrs. Ward, Los Angeles Unified School District.  Mrs. Ward was my 3rd grade teacher at First Street Elementary School who always made me feel smart and created the most amazing learning environment.  Gracias Mrs. Ward.  

Celeste McLaughlin: I would like to acknowledge Mrs. Melinda Williams from St. Leo the Great School in New Orleans, LA. She was my passionate and creative 6th grade teacher. Teaching Through the Arts, Mrs. Williams had a unique ability to develop a strong sense of self and confidence in her students. 

Danita Woodley: My favorite teacher is Ms. Bernard from P.S. 273 in Brooklyn, NY.  When I was hit by a car at age six, Ms. Bernard came to the hospital to work with me as I was healing. As I lay in the hospital with head trauma and full body cast, Ms. Bernard never made me feel different.  She told me I was a miracle and I was destined for great things.  I passed 1st grade with honors.

Francisco Lopez: I would like to shout out Ms. Power from the South Texas Independent School District.  Ms. Power was my AP English III teacher who could make an A- feel like a C and sometimes a C feel like an A+.  She pushed her students to be the best versions of themselves by inspiring us to ask the tough questions about any text – inside her classroom and beyond.

Itzetht Testa: My favorite teacher was Sol Maria from kindergarten. She showed me how to write the alphabet and the numbers in kindergarten. I would write my 5’s and my 2’s backwards. I remember her telling me to think of a duck when you write your 2 and she had to have a lot of patience with the 5’s.

Ivee Baugh: I would Like to shout out Dr. Capuano from Truman State University. His excitement for Romance languages is contagious. Dr. Capuano has supported several students in studying less commonly taught romance languages, such as Catalan and Portuguese. He encouraged me to apply for the Department of Defense Boren Scholarship, which led to the opportunity to participate in a Portuguese immersion program in Mozambique.

Kristin Simonne: I would like to shout out Mr. Vincent James from the Howard County Public School System. His constant joy, support, advocacy, and wisdom were instrumental to my high school experience and beyond. While he served in many capacities, Mr. James inspired me personally as my independent research teacher, SGA advisor, and all-time favorite teacher role-model. 

Jessica Swan: My most favorite (and feared) teacher was Mrs. Rome.  I had the privilege to be under her wings in some form from PK4 to high school. Through her ever-watchful presence, I learned not only lessons of science and swimming but also of character and courage.  She was a role model for me and many, and I will be forever grateful for her formative influence in my life.

Leticia Braga: I would like to shout out Dr. Joseph Galano from the College of William and Mary. Dr. G. combined a passion for community psychology with service to the community and to his students, modeling a commitment to applying one’s learning for the betterment of those around us.

Martin Roth: I would like to appreciate Ms. Luly (Zoila Noronha), at the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. She teaches 1st– 3rd Grade Montessori Immersion Spanish. Her care for my daughter while teaching her to speak Spanish as well as other subjects goes above and beyond excellent. The cultural aspects of the classroom help my daughter have an amazing appreciation of Latin American cultures. A huge shout out to Ms. Luly!!!!!!!!!!

Melissa Escalante: My favorite teacher was Mrs. Hamill at Edison Elementary, my 6th grade teacher. She always treated all of us as if we were intelligent young adults. A simple mindset that created an amazing learning environment in her classroom. 

Stephanie Nichols: My favorite teacher would be my mom…and although I was never in her class, starting from kindergarten at the same school where she taught, all the way through my 5th-grade year, I got to watch the time she spent beyond school hours doing things for her students and their parents/families. Most of her students were children of migrant families who would work seasonally in local agriculture industries. Not only did she make learning fun and hands-on for all of her kindergarten students, but her impact was felt outside of the regular school day, before school and after school when she would meet with parents and families or allow students to come early or stay late to help ensure that parents could get to work on time, or not have to leave work early. She provided clothes and school supplies to her students, helped provide clothes and household items to the families of her students, books, and school supplies to help learning continue at home beyond school hours. She knew that the best way to set her students up for success was to encourage and support their parents and families. She taught kindergarten for 35 years, and surely impacted my future as a kindergarten teacher as well.


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Teacher Appreciation Week