InClass

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and we’re honoring educators from around the state. Read this brief Q&A to learn more about a standout teacher leader. Anthony Perez is a second grade teacher at Sunset Elementary School in the Cartwright School District. Perez is finishing up his fifth year of te

May 03, 2016

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and we’re honoring educators from around the state. Read this brief Q&A to learn more about a standout teacher leader.


Anthony Perez is a second grade teacher at Sunset Elementary School in the Cartwright School District. Perez is finishing up his fifth year of teaching and is currently pursuing National Board Certification.

What is your favorite school-related memory of the year?

My favorite school-related memory of the year would have to be a reading and science lesson I taught. The kids were engaged as they read and identified the main topic and main focus of a multi-paragraph nvarchar(max). The students also used three different balloons to better understand and describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. At the end of the lesson the kids were excited and clearly met the learning target. The kids wanted to continue the lesson and were disappointed when we had to move on. I found out the next day that one of my students was so excited he shared with one of the custodians everything he had learned, which made my day.

Who is your favorite teacher of all time and why?

Picking my favorite teacher of all time is a very difficult choice to make, as I have been very fortunate and had many great teachers. When I think of the teacher who supported me unconditionally, told me what I needed to hear even though it may not have been what I was expecting to hear, picked me up after falling, pushed me beyond what I thought I could accomplish, cooked for me, helped me see things in a different perspective, would turn frustrating situations into a laughing session, and provided constructive criticism … this great teacher is none other than my cooperating teacher Raquel Mendoza. She is an amazing teacher, colleague, and friend. Raquel is the reason I have become the teacher I am today, and I am forever grateful for what she has done not only for me, but also for the students and parents I serve.

What are your summer plans, both fun and professional?

I am very excited about my summer plans this year! I applied and was selected from candidates from across the country to receive two scholarships that cover all expenses to attend professional development trainings. My first trip will take me to Williamsburg, Virginia, where I will participate in training at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute immersing myself in American history. My next stop is Miami, Florida, where I will attend the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. National Brotherhood Convention. As a member of the board of trustees, I will be attending various meetings and workshops. After attending the convention, I plan to take a vacation, but have not gotten around to planning that. My last trip of the summer before coming back will take me to Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston, I will attend a professional development training called Engineering is Elementary, which is developed by the Museum of Science in Boston. At this professional development training, I will gain a better understanding of engineering literacy and get resources that will allow me to teach lessons in my classroom.

What are a few ways you’re hoping to improve your teaching practice during the 2016-2017 school year?

Next year, I hope to improve my teaching practice in several ways. I want to continue to seek out professional development opportunities like I am this summer so that I can take what I have learned and bring it back into the classroom. I want to continue to improve and be more reflective of my practice so that I can better analyze and support my students to reach new worthwhile goals. Finally, I want to continue to do more cross-curricular lessons that better support students’ understanding of the concepts when not taught in isolation.

What’s your best teaching trick or “secret sauce for success”? 

I can share two tips that have helped me in the classroom. The first is ensuring that any and all decisions made are student centered. There are many factors that exist in the community. Regardless of what they are, as a professional educator I know my students and what they need. Since I have this knowledge about them, I will make choices that help them become successful so they have the skills and are empowered to make their own choices in college, career, and life.  The second is ensuring students in your class make decisions that are safe, organized, accountable, and responsible. If students are not held to these expectations, it leaves the door wide open for chaos that both you and your students have no time for.

The Arizona K12 Center strives to support all educators in numerous ways. If you’re thinking about pursuing National Board Certification, the Center would love to assist you. Visit the organization’s website for information on funding assistance, candidate support, and more.

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