Spring ISD’s Maria Leon Named SHABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year
HOUSTON – May 25, 2016 – Maria Leon was named the Elementary Bilingual Teacher of the Year recently by the Suburban Houston Association for Bilingual Education (SHABE). Leon, who is the 2016 Spring ISD Bilingual Teacher of the Year, represented the district along with Dawn McAllister, Spring ISD Elementary ESL Teacher of the Year at the annual SHABE banquet.
Leon is a firm believer in preparing the students with the necessary tools needed for them to be successful in the community.
“I treat my classroom as a community where trust and knowledge are the gateways to learning and discovery of the student’s potential,” said Leon, who teaches fourth grade at Anderson Elementary School. “I try to make learning a positive and memorable moment in the student’s life by providing meaningful experiences, therefore motivating them to want to learn even more.”
As a bilingual teacher, Leon believes that students learn better in their native language. “When students learn in their native language, they have the ability to transfer their knowledge to any other language supported by well developed teaching environments that promote effective learning” added Leon. “It’s important for us teachers to make as many connections with the student’s language, likes, games, cultures and preferences so that through the teaching, our bilingual students can reach understanding and quality learning can take place. We must have a connection to their life to allow learning to take place.”
McAllister teaches fifth grade math and science at Northgate Crossing Elementary where she has set a goal for herself to “make every child feel cared for and successful, and for them to move on to the next grade feeling smart because they are well-prepared.”
“I try to teach all students with the best way I can. I use such tools as images or videos whenever possible, hand movements, repetition and lots of explaining. It’s very important to allow students time to turn and talk with each other so that they can practice discussing the concept in their own words,” said McAllister.
SHABE annually honors area teachers for their exemplary work with students who are limited-English-proficient and selects teachers who then go on to compete at the state level. Leon will advance to state competition in the fall.
Below is a complete list of the SHABE Elementary Bilingual and Elementary ESL teachers of the year and their respective campus.
Elementary Campus Bilingual Teachers of the Year
Maria Leon, Anderson Elementary; Lizette Oliver, Bammel Elementary; Alma Salazar, Beneke Elementary; Nora Leal, Booker Elementary; Raquel Govea, Clark Primary; Veneranda Mederos, Clark Intermediate; Irene Molinar, Heritage Elementary; Celina Salazar, Hirsch Elementary; Mireyda Correa, Jenkins Elementary; Blanca Kirkpatrick, Lewis Elementary; Dalila Ayala, Marshall Elementary; Mathey Piccirillo, McNabb Elementary; Vanessa Menchaca, Northgate Crossing Elementary; Anel Roji, Ponderosa Elementary; Miriam Pinotti, Reynolds Elementary; Gabriel Medrano, Salyers Elementary; and Alejandra Trevino, Smith Elementary.
Elementary Campus ESL Teachers of the Year
Ashley Rodriguez, Anderson Elementary; Delphine Patterson, Bammel Elementary; Alynda Simpson, Beneke Elementary; Tana Moceanu, Booker Elementary; Britanny Bacarisse, Clark Primary; Danica Abrams, Clark Intermediate; Amber Wilkins, Heritage Elementary; Sharon Sparks, Hirsch Elementary; Donna Abajian, Jenkins Elementary; Wendell Carraway, Lewis Elementary; Robyn Turner, Marshall Elementary; Francis Bugarin, McNabb Elementary; Dawn McAllister, Northgate Crossing Elementary; Karol Cargill, Ponderosa Elementary; Andrea Sidel, Reynolds Elementary; Ashley Vara, Salyers Elementary; and Terry Genseal, Smith Elementary.