Araiza, one of three Poway Unified School District Teachers of the Year, was selected from a pool of 45 teachers countywide and will go on to compete in the statewide tournament later this year.
From a district news release:
Nine years ago, Kerry came to Poway Unified with extensive experience from Temecula as an expert in classroom management, English/language arts curriculum, and bilingual education. Since coming to Poway Unified School District 10 years ago, she taught history/English at Meadowbrook Middle School, then at Pomerado Elementary School for the last three years as a first and second grade teacher. Her varied experience has given her a valuable perspective on education. Hearing from former students about what they have done and accomplished in their lives is what Kerry describes as a “full circle moment for me.”
It was Kerry’s desire to take on new challenges that led her to transfer to elementary school for work with first and second graders. She wanted to try out new curriculum and methodologies she had learned through various professional developments in reading and writing. This was not an easy decision to make at this point in her career, but one that excited and challenged her professionally.
It is Kerry’s desire to continually learn new ideas and methodologies that led her to work with Scholastic, an educational literacy company designed for educators, as part of their National Advisory Board and Learning to Read Advisory Panel. She has helped Scholastic improve their website to better serve teachers and parents. Her association with Scholastic has resulted in receiving a grant for a set of iPads for her classroom. She has sought out training in how to leverage this tool instructionally with her students, opening the door to a variety of ways to more actively engage her students in their learning.
Most of all, she has fun with her students. “I laugh, sing, dance, and even speak in funny accents in class. I will do whatever it takes to make learning fun and engaging. I want my students to be inspired and to be curious about the work around them. I want them to feel successful, to set goals, to organize their learning, and reach for their dreams.”
From the San Diego County Office of Education:
As a second-grade teacher at Pomerado Elementary School in Poway, Kerry Araiza believes teaching and learning should be fun. It is not unusual to enter her classroom to find kids dancing, digging for fossils or celebrating student learning and achievement. She also believes that building a strong sense of community at an early age is an integral part of educating the whole child. This is why her classes have helped raised money for epilepsy and have shown their patriotic spirit by becoming a pen pal with a major in the Army.
The four other county winners:
- Eileen Bagg-Rizzo, Santana High School (Grossmont Union High School District)
- Bethany Chaffin, Reidy Creek Elementary School (Escondido Union School District)
- Cynthia Jackson, Hidden Valley Middle School (Escondido Union School District)
- Crystal Rienick, Valley Center High School (Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District)