Dreams of Teaching Lead to Regional Nomination

Ana Ontiveros: Region One Nominee for Teacher of the Year

Known on campus as “Ms. Onti,” Ana Ontiveros grew up in the small Nicaraguan town “Villa 15 de Julio.” Growing up, she played school with her cousins and was always eager to play the role of the teacher. Ana would use a branch as a ruler to point to a striped wall, which doubled as the chalk board. Watching her cousins learn writing in an old dusty notebook, she knew it wasn’t the materials, it was the teacher who could inspire. It was then that Ms. Ontiveros knew she wanted to go to college and become a teacher.

Nominated by her peers, Ms. Ontiveros became the nominee for Region One Teacher of the Year. After being a substitute teacher, she began teaching full-time six years ago. In that time Ms. Ontiveros taught several grade levels and content areas, and she is currently teaching AP Government and AP Microeconomics at IDEA Riverview College Preparatory.

“The teacher that my cousins needed, was the teacher IDEA Public Schools formed in me. Teaching students from underserved communities reminds me of that little Nicaraguan girl who dreamed of becoming a teacher,” Ana said, reflecting on her teaching journey.

Ms. Ontiveros keeps a strong focus on building students’ self-care mentally, intellectually, and emotionally. As a teacher, she shows them the importance of knowing a little of everything and lets them know that education is important. With the belief that every student can do or study whatever they want in their futures, her goal is to instill in her students to dream, work hard, have a goal, and that persistence will take you far.

District Teachers of the Year are nominated by their school districts and submit an application consisting of essay questions that ask nominees to describe a lesson or unit that defines them as a teacher, describe a project or initiative that has contributed to the improvement of overall school culture, an explanation of how they ensure that education transcends the classroom, what they consider to be a major public education issue, and finally, as a spokesperson for teachers and students what is their message to the profession and to the public. A committee comprised of representatives from various teacher and administrator groups evaluated the essay applications.

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