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San Carlos Apache teacher named Exemplary Teacher in Arizona

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 27th, 2012

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Leslie Vann Hernandez, San Carlos Apache, is named one of 12 Exemplary Teachers in Arizona.

San Carlos — The Rodel Foundation has named Leslie Vann Hernandez, San Carlos Apache, one of 12 Exemplary Teachers in Arizona. Hernandez, the daughter of Vera Swift and the late Danny Vann, teaches fourth grade at Holmes Elementary School in the Mesa Public School District. She has been a teacher for 14 years.

Hernandez, who has taught third through sixth grades, was selected from among 25 finalists for the award. The honorees are selected based on their outstanding student achievement in high needs schools, their ability to mentor new teachers, the recommendation from their principals and Rodel’s observation team. “It is an honor to represent all Natives. I am proud to be a role model and consider myself lucky to be a teacher. Teaching is my passion,” added Hernandez.

The fourth grade teacher is a grade level team leader in her school district. “I am very proud of my school because I feel we are a great model of a Professional Learning Community. We work together to ensure that our students receive a well-rounded education full of rigor and fun. I am proud of my students because they come to school every day full of curiosity and great enthusiasm to learn,” said Hernandez.

In addition to teaching, Hernandez has served on many school event committees, including the Talent Show, Science Fair, and Art Show. She is a Student Council sponsor, participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education for Maricopa County, is a trainer for the Sally Ride program and has coached basketball and volleyball. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science/Physical Education from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Emphasis from Northern Arizona University as well as a Reading Endorsement, Early Childhood Endorsement and ESL Full Endorsement.

Her advice to parents: “Be an active parent. Attend your child’s extracurricular activities, play with your child, read with or to your child, engage in conversation, and help them apply what they learned at school to the real world. Choose activities that are educational as well as fun,” said Hernandez.

In addition to being recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Teacher and winning a monetary award, Hernandez will mentor six high-potential student teachers, one per semester. This ensures that student teachers are learning from the best. Rodel also provides further training and support to both mentors and student teachers to assure Promising Student Teacher Graduates start their careers as outstanding educators. Since 2004, 144 Rodel Exemplary Teachers have been named and more than 500 Rodel Promising Student Teachers have been mentored.

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