Get to know your Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year

Valerie Padilla (GAWHS Staff Member) 

What was your excitement after winning Classified Employee of the year? Did you expect to win this award? 

“I did not expect to win at all actually, and it was a very nice surprise. I am grateful to my co-workers

 who nominated and voted for me. It was very thoughtful.”

What advice would you give to those who look up to you?

“Do the best you can at any job you have. You learn from what you do, and from those around you. Anything you take away adds to your skill set and knowledge. You learn from everything you do.”

What do you love most about Wilson?

“I love the students and my co-workers. We work as a team in the office. Even though we work hard and it gets very busy, I am grateful that we all support each other and we can still have a good time. The students all have different personalities and it is fun interacting with them and getting to know them. I feel really blessed to see students grow from freshmen to seniors and be a part of their lives.”

What are some of your hobbies or things you like to do for fun?

“I like to relax and read a good book! I also really enjoy taking yoga classes, in addition to taking walks and meeting up with friends.”

How has the 2022-2023 school year been like for you with the office feeling “back to normal”?

“Even though it’s been really really busy, it is great to see students participating in all the activities and sports that are back to normal. Mr. Wilson is one of my favorite events, and I always appreciate the work ASB puts into getting it all together. It’s also great to read about all our competitions and events covered by our Paw Prints staff!”

What are you most excited about with the 2022-2023 school year coming to an end? 

“It’s always nice to celebrate graduation…it’s a big milestone. It’s nice to talk to students about what’s next after high school and hear about their plans.”

Who would you like to thank for this special award?

“I would like to say thank you to whoever nominated me and to those that voted for me, I really appreciate it.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

“I enjoy interacting with and helping students. And it’s been really special knowing many of this graduating class since they were in elementary school! I feel very fortunate to have had both my sons graduate from Wilson.”

Who are some people you look up to?

“I look up to people who help others, and I look up to people who succeed even when they face difficult circumstances or situations.”

Josipa Casey (GAWHS Teacher) 

How do you feel after winning teacher of the year? What importance does this award hold to you?

“I feel good. It was a nice surprise, I didn’t expect to win. It was nice just to get nominated. It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s not necessary. That’s not why I do what I do, I don’t need the recognition. I just love my career, I love my job, I love my students and I just do everything I can to support them no matter any specific type of recognition.” 

What advice would you give your students?

“Make good choices. I tell them that just about every single day. Just make good choices in life.”

What is your favorite part about being a teacher at Wilson? 

“The community, I think the wildcat family that we have formed. I feel close to my students and my colleagues. It’s just a really great welcoming warm environment to work in. I think what I love about teaching, in general, is that every day is different. There is no same day ever. Which makes it exciting.” 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

“ Obviously reading,  I am an English teacher. I love traveling and spending time with my kids. I also cook and bake a lot too. It is my stress relief.”

Who would you like to thank for your special award?

“Everybody! There is no one specific person. I am just really grateful to everyone for honoring me with the award and the nomination. If it’s two specific people, shout out to Dr.Kenfield for her mentorship and support these last several years, and Mrs. Arteaga—she is a constant support and cheerleader. I love her.” 

Who are the people you look up to or ask for advice from?

“Honestly my master teacher from when I started many years ago. When I was doing my student teaching I was paired with a phenomenal teacher who became a mentor. To this day many years later we are still very good friends and she is the godmother to my youngest son. We talk almost every day. So she’s a constant source of advice and tears and just an open ear. I always go to her like ‘What would you do in this situation?’ or ‘How can I make this lesson better?’”

What are things that make you feel happy or pick you up?

“My kids, both my biological and my students make me happy. I have a good group of kiddos and I really enjoy working with them.”

What are some great tips you would like to give to students that may be helpful in their everyday lives?

“Back to my advice, make good choices. Just really think hard about what it is that you are after and be purposeful in those choices. Be kind, to yourself and to others.”

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