Top grades for local teachers

Terri Craig

Two South County teachers from Gilroy and Morgan Hill are among 31 educators selected as the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s 2012 Teachers of the Year. The award recipients will be formally recognized during a celebration in September.
School districts selected their honorees based on each teacher’s dedication to students, classroom skills and commitment to life-long learning. This year’s recipients of the most prestigious local teaching award include public school teachers of nearly every grade and subject matter, according to the SCCOE.
Gilroy’s Las Animas Elementary School teacher Maritza Salcido, 35, said she was “very honored” and “a little taken aback” when she heard the happy news.
“You’re not used to things like that when you’re a teacher,” she joked. “It took me by surprise.”
As 2011-12 marks her last year at Las Animas, Salcido says the award was a “sweet” way to cap off the year. She’s migrating to South Valley Middle School this fall, where she’ll continue her work in the dual immersion program while teaching sixth grade social studies and English.
Salcido says she’s passionate about teaching in the dual immersion program, where lessons are taught in English and Spanish.
“Turning out kids that are biliterate – it’s a great program,” she said. “It’s been a really great experience.”
Born and raised in Hollister, Salcido has three daughters in the Gilroy Unified School District.
A veteran who just retired after 36 years in the Morgan Hill Unified School District was also “speechless” and “surprised” when she caught wind of her award.
“I was literally speechless,” said Terri Craig, 60. “I’m never speechless, and I couldn’t talk for about five minutes.”
The educator – whose family tree is filled with teachers – is going out on a high note after an “amazing career” spent instilling in her students a love of literature.
Transmitting information and knowledge to children, and “seeing them take hold of it and want to pursue it farther in their own lives and homes and communities … is what I really love,” she said.
Whether she’s giving a lesson on geology, Charles Lindbergh or insects, Craig says the best part about her job was watching students “head off to the library on their own, with no one telling them to do it.”
When she’s not busy “living la vida loca,” Craig plans on staying involved with MHUSD by helping teachers develop new curriculums and subbing “just for fun.”
The one thing this Santa Cruz County resident won’t miss?
“The commute,” she chuckles.

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