Alicia Valdez.jpg

Position: 4th Grade ELA Teacher

School: Benignus Elementary

School District: Klein ISD

How has this person changed your life?:

Alecia joined my 4th grade team 8 years ago as a brand new teacher. She quickly became a trusted colleague and friend. Eager to learn, Alecia dove right into the work headfirst. She utilized her strengths of working quickly on the computer to speed up our planning. She listened and observed what experienced teachers were doing that first year. The second year she confidently offered more than her computer skills. She asked me about my book clubs and she expressed interest in trying something new. Tentatively, she began with grouping her students by similar reading level in a book club novel. She wrestled with time management and organization of implementing the book clubs, however, she faced each challenge head on. She asked her teammates and problem solved to make the book clubs the best learning experience for her students.
Fast forward a few years and Alecia stepped out of her comfort zone to teach 5th grade for one year. Discovering that 4th grade is her true love she moved back to 4th the following year, but with new exciting ideas. After attending a workshop on standards based grading, Alecia worked all summer rethinking the work her students were doing in her classroom. Tirelessly, she created rubrics, assessments, data trackers, and videos to transform her classroom into a classroom better fit for today's learners. She convinced her principal and her team to try her new strategic grading. She provided ample explanations and feedback so parents and students embraced the change. This year she is at it again with the transformation of her direct instruction to her students. With the variety of challenges she has faced she recognized that her students needed more small group teaching to master essential standards. She stepped out of her comfort zone again and adapted her teaching. She is always willing to try something if she sees the benefit for her students and welcomes feedback from her team members or me (now a Literacy Specialist). Her dedication, thoughtfulness, and determination to support her students shines above many great educators.