El Monte and Gardena Teachers Honored with 10th Annual Golden Apple Awards
Thu Jan 18 18:17:00 PST 2024
They have gone above and beyond to engage families and children, create meaningful interactions, and excel in teaching and leadership.
The Los Angeles County Office of Education recognized two remarkable early childhood educators this week for their dedication to serving our community’s youngest learners and their families.
LACOE presented the 10th Annual Golden Apple Awards to Early Head Start teacher Raquel “Rachel” Barber from El Monte City School District and Head Start teacher Rodolfo “Rudy” Tejada from the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment, or PACE. They have gone above and beyond to engage families and children, create meaningful interactions, and excel in teaching and leadership.
Barber teaches at the Jeff Seymour Family Center and has been a dedicated early educator with El Monte City School District for more than 22 years. Barber prioritizes her own students’ learning and shares her wisdom with others. Her classroom was selected to showcase El Monte’s new Early Head Start program in 2021 and her written child observations are used as models to train new teachers. She regularly engages parents in classroom volunteering to strengthen the home-school connection.
Rudy Tejada teaches at the Aloha Learning Center in Gardena. Tejada is commended for his daily interactions with both children and peers. He makes his classroom an engaging learning environment, tailored to the needs of each child, where negative experiences are turned into positive learning opportunities. He helped create a nurturing environment where students feel safe to express themselves.
Both Barber and Tejada participated in the Career Development Initiative, a program designed to train new early education teachers. Their commitment to providing guidance and mentoring makes new teachers feel valued and supported.
“It’s just such a blessing to be in this field, to be able to give, and it comes at an unconditional level. And I always tell them don’t ever look at your salary because that has nothing to do with it. It all comes from the heart. It’s dedication and devotion. It’s a blessing to these families and they really need it. That’s why we’re here. It’s for the families,” said Tejada.
The award recognition was held on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, and was in-person for the first time in four years.
“It’s nice to show my girls that hard work did pay off, to motivate them. It’s nice to have them, my husband, my parents, my supervisor, my superintendent here. It’s awesome,” said Barber.
LACOE awarded both teachers with $500 in classroom supplies. Lakeshore Learning also presented both recipients with gift baskets and gift cards. Teachers are selected based on their ability to implement curriculum, provide exemplary adult-child interactions, demonstrate creativity in the classroom and show continuously improving practices to be a model for others.
Rudy Tejada was honored with the Golden Apple Award on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. He's joined by Dr. Yvonne Chan, Dr. Maricela Ramierz and Vibiana Andrade.
Rachel Barber was honored with the Golden Apple Award on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. She's joined by Dr. Yvonne Chan, Dr. Maricela Ramierz and Vibiana Andrade.