Superintendent Douglas Announces EL Teacher of the Year

Published: December 3rd, 2018

Miriam Romero

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2018 Arizona English Language Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Miriam Romero of Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in the Tucson Unified School District.

“It is an honor to recognize Miriam Romero as an outstanding teacher,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Her passion and commitment to educating Arizona’s EL students were evident by the way her school and students reacted to the news that she was selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.”

Romero will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. This event is being held in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) 2018 Conference, “The Art of Language.”

The process for choosing the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for applications in May of 2018. In October, judging by a panel of peers was facilitated by OELAS, and the honoree was chosen.

On November 13, 2018, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in Tucson to inform Mrs. Romero that she had been selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

When asked about her educational philosophy, Mrs. Romero stated, “I feel privileged to teach and learn with the children in my ELD [English Language Development] Resource classes. As a teacher, I help my students bridge this divide between home and school, two worlds which traditionally have been at odds with each other for many generations of EL students in the United States. Throughout the year I use my SEI [Structured English Immersion] lessons to instill a sense of purpose and pride behind all the English learning we do at school. I want my students to see themselves as academics who hold an integral part in the school and their communities at large. It is my job to teach my students the skills they need to continue their growth as scholars, learning, evolving and thinking critically about their role in society, long after they leave my classroom.”

Mrs. Romero continued, “It is essential that instructors make school a safe and accepting place for their students. An instructor must take their varied students’ life experiences, cultures, histories and languages as source of inspiration for student learning. Achieving this high level of participation can be challenging. For EL teachers, involving students who may have very limited English or are unsure of their academic voice can be a constant struggle. It is essential you learn about and recognize who your students are beyond their traditional classroom identity, which is usually based on test scores and very antiquated notions of what makes a good scholar.”

Miriam Romero was born in Tucson, Arizona and began her teaching career in the Tucson Unified School District, where she has taught for 12 years. For the last 11 years, she has been teaching at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, the school she attended as a student. Over the course of her teaching career, Mrs. Romero has taught first through fifth grade English learners. Miriam received dual degrees from the University of Arizona in 2007. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education concentrated in Bilingual Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts concentrated in Spanish and Portuguese Literature. Her endorsements include English as a Second Language and Library/Educational Media. Miriam is married and has four amazing children.