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Carrillo K-5 Magnet School's Monique Peralta named Rodel Exemplary Teacher

Monique Peralta, a fourth-grade teacher at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, has been named a Rodel Exemplary Teacher for 2014.
Peralta has been teaching for 15 years, four of them at Carrillo. She said she was surprised she was being considered for the Rodel award and was even more shocked when she learned over the weekend that she was a winner.

"It feels good that someone recognizes what teachers do—all the teachers nominated—and the things that are happening in classrooms," Peralta says.

Each year, the Rodel Foundation of Arizona selects two teachers from each county who achieve outstanding student performance in high-need schools, have effective classroom practices and have the capacity to become strong mentors for future teachers. Winners agree to mentor Rodel student teachers for three years.

The Exemplary Teacher selection process starts with the Rodel foundation, which looks at school data to identify teachers whose students show improvement year-to-year. The foundation narrows the field through additional research and then conducts classroom evaluations and interviews nominees.

Howard Paley, chief operating officer of the Rodel Foundation, says Peralta was impressive in the classroom and in her interview. "We ask questions that help us determine whether teachers have the ability to share their knowledge with aspiring teachers," he said. "We are looking for great mentors."

Peralta is looking forward to sharing her love of teaching with top-notch student teachers.

"I hope to pass on the passion I have for teaching and the importance of planning your lessons for mastery," Peralta said. "The combination of passion and planning, making sure the kids have everything they need to master the lesson you’ve planned, those are the most important things," she said.

Lori Conner, principal of Carrillo, didn’t hesitate in sharing the news. "Right away we put it on the marquee in front of the school," she says. "We want everyone to know."

Peralta said her students were blown away when they found out their teacher had won an award of excellence. But Peralta reminded them that it’s their award, too. "I told them if they weren’t exemplary students, Rodel never would have recognized me."

Photo of Monique Peralta
Monique Peralta, Rodel Exemplary Teacher