Catching up with 2018 Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient Elizabeth Rodriguez

Today we are checking in with Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award alumnus Elizabeth Rodriguez. Rodriguez received the award in 2018 as a literary specialist at Yes Prep Southwest.

What has been occupying your time lately (personal or professional)?
Lately, the biggest thing that has been occupying my time has been providing interventions to emergent bilingual students and coaching teachers across campus on creating appropriate learning experiences for our special populations. This year, nearly half of the students at my school are English language learners, which is a huge increase from years prior. I’ve made it my goal for all students in our special populations to receive the support they need to create more equitable outcomes. Outside of work, my 2-year-old pup and grad school have been occupying my time. I’m pursuing my principal certification and Master’s in Bilingual/ESL Curriculum and Instruction. During study breaks, I’ve been visiting all the cool dog parks Houston has to offer!

What has been your greatest win this current school year? 
Besides coaching and servicing our emergent bilingual students, I also serve as our campus librarian! Last year the library was closed because of COVID safety measures, but we have been able to open the library in full swing this school year. The most significant win has been fundraising and purchasing books that represent our school’s diversity and creating a love of reading among our students. Students have been consistently coming to the library and are excited to engage with the books they’re reading, which warms my ELA teacher heart.

What is on the horizon for you as an educator?
In the near future, I’d like to expand the difference I’m making in the lives of students and families through a leadership role with more significant impact and responsibilities. I’m in the process of completing my principal certification and hope to become an assistant principal. Ultimately, I see myself leading a school where I can work with teachers, families, and students to create equitable learning experiences for all children.