Kassandra Dominguez, Kindergarten/First Grade Dual Language teacher at Sunset Ridge School in Glendale, in the Pendergast District, was chosen from a pool of 23 nominees. According to Ericka Nicholes, Interim Vice-President of Development for CAA, “This is an inaugural award for CAA and the significance is to recognize educators and educational organizations in our state who have gone above and beyond in dedicating themselves to early childhood education and life-long learning. These outstanding educators will be recognized on November 2, 2018 at the Annual Event and 30th Anniversary celebration from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Zoo.” Additionally, Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, Superintendent of the Pendergast District and Vicki Walker, teacher at Garden Lakes Elementary School were also nominated for their outstanding contributions.
When told of the award Kassandra shared, “I am truly grateful and honored to be selected for this incredible award. It feels good to be able to prove my college advisor wrong. I am a teacher, and that was always my dream. I was told that speaking Spanish would hinder me and now I get to use the language as a tool for my students to be bi-lingual and bi-cultural. I believe in my students and their potential to be anything they want to be. My principal, Brian Winefsky and others in the school and district believed in me. I fought to become a teacher and did not want to be defined by my zip code or being from the wrong side of the tracks. Thanks to everyone at CAA for recognizing the difference teachers make each day.”