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Carlsbad Unified names its Teacher of the Year for 2013-14

Carlsbad Unified School District is pleased to announce the selection of Maria Teran-Cruz as Teacher of the Year for 2013-14. Mrs. Cruz, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, is an exemplary professional.


As a Nicaraguan immigrant who didn’t speak any English when she arrived in this country at age 18, Mrs. Cruz overcame significant challenges. Although she had to work twice as hard to catch up with her peers, she remained determined to make learning a priority.

Being a second language learner herself, Mrs. Cruz is a strong role model for students. She spends a great deal of time planning her curriculum, 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,” states Jefferson Elementary’s principal Chad Lund. “She is an asset to Jefferson and truly worthy of this honor.”

Mrs. 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 congratulates the following teachers who were 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

Maria Teran-Cruz   Jefferson 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

From this distinguished group, the following three teachers were selected as finalists:

Maria Teran-Cruz     Jefferson Elementary

Gabie Norton             Kelly Elementary

Valerie Park           Sage Creek High School

“It is an honor to announce Mrs. Cruz as CUSD’s Teacher of the Year,” says Superintendent Dr. 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.”

Mrs. Cruz will move forward as CUSD’s representative in the San Diego County Teacher of the Year competition.



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