Bob Graham Edu. Ctr. names two top teachers

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 0 Comments

Bob Graham Edu. Ctr. names two top teachers

 

Bob Graham Education Center’s (BGEC) two top teachers for 2017-18 are Lusila Garcia, who was named Teacher of the Year, and Tabitha Stanley Williams, who was named Rookie Teacher of the Year.

Garcia is a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher of the gifted program at BGEC. She graduated from FIU in 1995 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and began her teaching career at Poinciana Park Elementary in Liberty City. She taught there for eight years, and in 2004 she joined the BGEC family.

She is the oldest of three siblings. Her parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1969 looking for a better life. In their mind the means to that end, was an education. From an early age, they instilled the importance and the value of an education. The purpose of that was not just to be financially independent and successful, but to be able to make a positive impact in society. One by one, all of her siblings graduated college and went on to be contributing members of society and enriched their parent’s legacy. This became the basis of her educational philosophy.

This was one of the two reasons she became a teacher. First, because she believes in public education. She believes in the power behind an educated person and the decisions they make that can influence generations. 

Garcia believes that an education can level the playing field for many people. For some, an education is a college degree, for some it will be a high school diploma, certification or trade school. But, no matter the level completed, it means that they will have the basic tools necessary to not be dependent on a system, but be self-sufficient contributing members of society. 

The second reason she became a teacher was because she wanted to make a difference in the life of a child. 

When Garcia started teaching over 20 years ago, she went into a second grade classroom armed with the latest educational trends and all the good intentions her small frame could hold. No child left behind, not on her watch. 

As the year progressed, she discovered that her children needed a hug just as desperately as they needed to learn their vocabulary. Her students needed to know they mattered just as badly as they needed to learn their multiplication facts. 

Over the years, Garcia has come to realize that the real difference and the impact she has on her students is two-fold. What they learned in her class was just as important as how she made them feel while learning. In her journey as a teacher, the words of Maya Angelou ring true. “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

BGEC’s Rookie Teacher of the Year is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) teacher. Williams said she is happy to have been chosen to be a part of the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) team. She recently completed courses in education and received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from St. Thomas University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Finance and Accounting that she obtained from Union Institute & University. 

Before becoming a classroom teacher, Williams was a paraprofessional in the ESE department. She enjoyed learning different teaching techniques and strategies that she now applies in her own classroom. 

Williams feels a special connection and bond with each one of her students because no two students are the same. She is also considering going back to school to obtain a specialist degree.

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