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2017 Teachers of the Year

2017 OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

The AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards are given to teachers of Spanish or Portuguese representing the following four categories:

  • Elementary Level: Grades K-8
  • Secondary Level: Grades 9-12
  • Two-year College Level
  • College or University Level


 

The 2017 AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year Elementary Level

The AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year for Elementary Level is Erica O. Scott from Ocean Springs Middle School (Ocean Springs, MS).

 

 

 

Erica Scott is a very successful middle school teacher of Spanish who has a passion for teaching and a true dedication to her students. In the classroom, Erica employs a variety of strategies in order to reach out to each student and meet their specialized needs. Erica integrates technology, visual aids, and TPR stories into her classroom on a daily basis so that her students demonstrate progress in their level of language proficiency. Erica also collaborates with other teachers in her building in order to incorporate other subject matter areas into her lessons and to ensure cross-curricular planning. Erica goes beyond the classroom setting and organizes field trips for her students that demonstrate culture in action. In 2015, Erica was selected as the Mississippi Foreign Language Teacher of the Year and represented her state at the Southern Conference on Language Teaching. Erica states, “There are no perfect teachers. We do our best in the classroom for our students because we care about them, and we want them to be successful.” A colleague summarized Erica’s contribution as a teacher by stating that Erica “has a vibrant personality that is student centered. She has been a great asset to our school.” 

 


 

The 2017 AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year Secondary Level

The AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year for Secondary Level is Christina Gauss from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Rumson, NJm Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Rumson, NJ).

 

 

Christina Gauss is a highly successful Spanish teacher who promotes the development of language skills and cultural awareness through the incorporation of cultural products, practices, and perspectives in real-world, project-based learning in the classroom. Through this project-based learning environment, Christina demonstrates that by utilizing their language skills on a daily basis, students learn to connect to community members and enhance their career opportunities. In addition, students will then come to understand that learning about the values and culture of others assists them in defining their own place in this world. This realization then enables students to connect with and be able to communicate more effectively with others. Christina stated that she has adopted this philosophy and uses it to guide everything that transpires in the classroom. Many times, our classroom is “beyond the four walls” as we invite speakers from the community in to share their experiences, or we venture out to explore Hispanic culture in our greater community. Christina’s philosophy has impacted her students in a very positive way. In a letter of support, a former student stated that “Christina Gauss is not just an ordinary language teacher who simply passes her students. Christina Gauss is an impassioned mentor, dedicated to forming a lifelong love of Spanish and ensuring that we remain dedicated to its study and engagement.”

 


 

The 2017 AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year College / University Level

The AATSP Outstanding Teacher of the Year for University Level is Victoria Rodrigo from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA). 

 

 

Victoria Rodrigo has had an outstanding career as a professor and researcher. Her letters of support point out her exceptional mentorship of other teachers by modeling how to be engaged in the local community as a language educator, her transformational study-abroad experiences in which the language and culture come to life for students, and her keen sensitivity to second language learners’ needs. Victoria states that her research closely informs her teaching. Based on her research on the role of reading and vocabulary gain, Victoria has created an innovative, grant-funded reading program in which student-authors from her intermediate-level Spanish courses write original stories and then collaborate with illustrators who are undergraduate students in fine arts. The resulting collection of short stories has been placed online where it has reached a wide audience of Spanish instructors. Victoria’s letters of support also attest to her profound dedication to her students. Her colleagues point out that Victoria routinely receives excellent student evaluations across all levels of instruction and that students are very enthusiastic about her classes. In summary, Victoria Rodrigo demonstrates that she has an exceptional ability to mentor students and other teachers alike to help improve students’ proficiency in the target language and foster their love of the target language and culture. 

 




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