Rachel Hernandez Finalist, San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year

Rachel Hernandez has been a teacher in the San Joaquin County Office of Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing program for 18 years and currently teaches students at Sierra High School in the Manteca Unified School District.

"My approach to teaching is truly whatever works for each individual child."
"I've taught the same book at the same time to different students and how I present it to one student is completely different to how I present it to another ..."
"The story is identical. The book is identical. But how that student learns -- how they understand, how they grasp it, how they relate it to self and life -- all that varies ..."
"It's really making sure that my students can connect in their own way, with their own understanding, and with their own minds..."
"So my teaching philosophy is truly whatever it takes for my students to be successful."
"Rachel works very closely with the general education teachers on her campus for mainstreaming and integrates students into the campus culture," SJCOE Special Education Director Katy Eyer said when nominating Hernandez.
"Her students are more like family, and she is able to share in their accomplishments with them. Rachel pours her heart and soul into her students and their education."