CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Unified School District has honored Maria Teran-Cruz as its Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014.
Cruz, a fourth-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, is a Nicaraguan immigrant who didn’t speak any English when she arrived in this country at age 18. According to Rick Grove, assistant superintendent, Personnel Services, Cruz overcame significant challenges to catch up with her peers, but remained determined to make learning a priority.
Being a second-language learner herself, Cruz is a strong role model for students. She spends a great deal of time planning her curriculum, Grove wrote, and her classroom is meticulous and conducive to learning. She even teaches dance PE, with rousing Latin beats, to the entire school as part of the Motion Program at her school.
“Mrs. Cruz is a wonderful person with a positive attitude and a contagious smile,” said Jefferson Elementary’s principal Chad Lund. “She is an asset to Jefferson and truly worthy of this honor.”
Cruz, who has been a teacher at Jefferson for 16 years, was chosen as Teacher of the Year through a process of observation and interviews by CUSD’s selection panel.
CUSD also congratulates the following teachers selected as their school’s Teacher of the Year:
— Robert Brown, Aviara Oaks Elementary School
— Ashley Crawford, Aviara Oaks Middle School
— Ana Larios, Buena Vista Elementary
— Bob Burns, Calavera Hills Elementary
— Chad Mitchell, Calavera Hills Middle School
— JB Feaster, Carlsbad High School
— Holly Hill, Hope Elementary
— Gabie Norton, Kelly Elementary
— Gretchen Mays, Magnolia Elementary
— Ashley Rossiter, Pacific Rim Elementary
— Ellie Restivo, Poinsettia Elementary
— Valerie Park, Sage Creek High School
— Beth Thomason, Valley Middle School
“It is an honor to announce Mrs. Cruz as CUSD’s Teacher of the Year,” said Superintendent Suzette Lovely. “Maria Cruz exemplifies the exceptional teaching staff in Carlsbad Unified. We congratulate her and all of the teachers who were selected to represent their schools as Teachers of the Year.”
Cruz will move forward as CUSD’s representative in the San Diego County Teacher of the Year competition.