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Javelina named National Student Teacher of the Year

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Cerelia Diaz, a 2017 graduate of Texas A&M  University-Kingsville, was recently awarded the National Student Teacher of the Year award by Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE).

Diaz, of Harlingen, is now certified to teach as a bilingual generalist for early childhood through sixth grade. She spent her student teaching in the spring 2017 at Wilson Elementary School in the Harlingen Independent School District. As part of the application process, she submitted the lesson, Figurative Language-Idioms, which she taught to a class of fifth graders.

“As an educator for 40 years, it’s been exciting working with Cerelia Diaz, who’s so passionate about being a teacher,” said Mary Atkinson, Diaz’ student teaching field supervisor. “Cerelia makes learning fun and relevant by offering her students numerous opportunities to interact and collaborate. Her lesson plans are consistently centered on making connections to her students’ lives and interests.”

Diaz has a passion for creativity in instructing students, which involves making a personal connection with each child in the classroom. “Understanding the diverse learning interests of my students and expressing a genuine concern and caring for each student is the first priority,” she said. “I want my students to take ownership of the learning that is taking place, developing their own personal strength of creative and critical thinking skills.”

“I am extremely honored and greatly appreciative of having been chosen as the 2017 KDP/ATE National Student Teacher of the Year,” Diaz said. “To be awarded this accomplishment by educators in our profession of the highest caliber, and among many deserving applicants, is heartfelt. I am humbled to represent my university, district, school and family.” 

Since the award’s establishment in 1994, KDP and ATE have named a very select few from around the United States as National Student Teacher/Intern of the Year. The award recognizes one student teacher/intern annually who has demonstrated the ability to plan and develop classroom management skills and instructional strategies that support all students; establish interpersonal relationships with students, parents, faculty and staff; and reflect powerfully on their student teaching experience. Award winners are acknowledged with a $1,500 scholarship award.


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