Nineteen MSTA members were among the 35 teachers named 2019-20 Regional Teachers of the Year as part of the Missouri Teacher of the Year program through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Each Wednesday, a new profile will be shared online celebrating these outstanding educators. You can see profiles of all 19 MSTA members honored as Regional Teachers of the Year in the Fall 2019 issue of School & Community.

School Building: Harrisonville Middle School
School District: Harrisonville R-9
Grade/Subject taught: Spanish 6th -8th Grade
Years teaching: Currently in my 30th year.

What is one of your goals for this year?

Incorporate Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in my classes.

Describe yourself without using the word “teacher” or “educator.”

I am an energetic, passionate, and inquisitive person.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I decided to become a teacher because I love working with kids and because I am constantly amazed by their potential and capabilities. Children are like clay, and we are blessed to have the chance to help them mold their lives in a positive way. 

What is your teaching philosophy?

School should be challenging and fun at the same time. Our students need to be held to high standards, but at the same time, they should be provided with fun, interactive, meaningful, and authentic experiences that will prepare them for real-life scenarios

Describe a moment when you knew you were following your calling.

Every time I see and speak with former students who after 18 years or more still wish I could be their own children’s teacher; so I can positively impact their lives as I did with them.

What career would you like to have if you weren’t a teacher?

Since I was 9, my goal was to become a teacher; and for almost 30 years, that’s the only thing I’ve done! Never thought of something else, maybe a missionary?

What’s your favorite school lunch?

I love Bosco sticks and frozen fruit cups!

What is something on your bucket list?

Visit Greece, Italy, and Spain.

If you could see one band/performer, living or dead, in concert, who would it be?

The Beatles singing “Hey Jude.”

What superpower do you wish you had?

I wish I could heal all physical and emotional pain. 

What do you do to relieve stress?

I work out every day after school with other teachers.

What’s something about you that your students would be surprised to learn?

That back in my home country (Colombia), I was a very talented, competitive, synchronized swimmer.