Arizona Education Association

Winter 2020

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8 ADVOCATE | WINTER 2020 Chandler Education Association Member Named 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year A EA congratulates Sara Wyffels, a Spanish teacher at Chandler High School on being named the Arizona Educational Foundation's 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year. Wyffels was selected from the five 2021 Ambassadors for Excellence that were identified by the foundation in September as finalists. The award was announced during the Arizona Educational Foundation's (AEF) virtual awards ceremony on October 23, 2020. AEA is a proud sponsor of the AEF. A veteran teacher of 14 years, Sara Wyffels teaches Spanish Level 2 and International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement levels 5 and 6 at Chandler High School. She is a nationally board certified teacher who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Western Washington University and her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland. The ignition for her language learning journey was sparked by her study abroad experience in college and she is passionate about teaching the power of human connections through the Spanish language. Wyffels learned Spanish as a second language, which has shown her the power of adventure and the beauty of the human spirit, which are themes integrated into her Spanish classes. She considers herself and her students global citizens who have the ability to make a positive difference in the world every day. Wyffels became a teacher to make a difference. "I choose to teach and I choose to remain a teacher. Being a teacher is one of the most fulfilling careers an individual can have because you're changing lives. As a Spanish teacher, I see firsthand how the power of language inspires human connection. Teaching language isn't just about learning new vocabulary; it's opening the eyes of my students to a world beyond themselves and teaching them how to be global citizens." As the new Arizona Teacher of the Year, Wyffels will engage in a "year of recognition" as an Ambassador for the teaching profession, delivering over a hundred speeches and making public appearances throughout the state and the nation. As Arizona's Teacher of the Year, Wyffels becomes a candidate for National Teacher of the Year. She will receive $15,000 from the Arizona Educational Foundation and paid travel – COVID permitting – to the White House to meet the U.S. President, and will spend a week at International Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. She will also be given professional speech training, consideration to receive an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University, and an Arizona K12 Center Scholarship to attend the Teachers Leadership Institute. She will also be a participant in the Fiesta Bowl Parade and receive a "virtual" Intel experience courtesy of Intel Arizona. Additionally, AEF named its four Teacher of the Year finalists, called "Ambassadors for Excellence," who will serve with Wyffels as spokespersons for their profession, advocating for excellence in the classroom by making presentations statewide to education, civic, government, and professional organizations. The four 2021 Ambassadors for Excellence are: • Estevan Carreon (Special Educa- tion), Independence High School, Glendale Union High School District, Glendale Union Education Association Member; • Jillian Hernandez (Elementary Edu- cation), Puente de Hózhó Elemen- tary School, Flagstaff Unified School District; • Sara Mora (Career and Techni- cal Education), Wrightson Ridge School, Sahuarita Unified School District, Sahuarita Education As- sociation Member; and • Hillary Stacey (Chemistry), Empire High School, Vail Unified School District. Sara Wyffels Chandler Education Association 2021 Ambassadors for Excellence Estevan Carreon Glendale Union High School District Glendale Union Education Association Jillian Hernandez Flagstaff Unified School District Sara Mora Sahuarita Unified School District Sahuarita Education Association Hillary Stacey Vail Unified School District.

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