Teacher of the Year wins a new car


English Language teacher Vanessa M. Valle is this year’s 2021 Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year! Miss Valle’s hard work and dedication to her students has been noticed and rewarded with a brand new 2020 Toyota Corolla, provided to her free of charge from Kendall Toyota. Members of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) as well as local leaders, friends, and family joined together at the annual UTD Family picnic back in early March to formally congratulate Miss Valle on her achievements. She was later presented the keys to her new car by Michael Cordero of Kendall Toyota.

A 15-year veteran, Miss Valle has devoted her life to enriching students’ minds and caring for their wellbeing. She teaches English at all levels, from Intensive Reading to literacy coach for her school, Hialeah Gardens Senior High School. Miss Valle has helped many students struggling with reading overcome their obstacles and pass their classes. 

Her inspiration comes from her own personal struggles with reading in high school until a teacher’s simple act of kindness helped her not only improve her studies, but also set forth her future goal to become a teacher and help others as well. 

“That’s where my heart was,” Valle said. “I wanted to transform how others saw reading and how struggling readers could get it because someone helped me when I learned to get it through someone. I wanted to be that person for them.”

She continues spreading her positive light to students through her active participation in a variety of groups designed to help students in their educational journey such as the Take Stock in Children program and the Real Talk mental health program at her school. 

That’s not all, she hopes to work with future educators and mentor them so they too can love teaching just as much as she does. Empathy is very important to her and is a huge part of her teachings: “Oftentimes as teachers, we become so closed minded and so focused on getting the content across that we lose the sense of that empathy component,” Valle said.

The Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding teacher throughout the District. Valle was one of the four finalists recognized for the award. Alongside, Stephen M. Pereira Jr., of School for Advanced Studies, Ashley C. R. Vangates of George Washington Carver Elementary, and Lisa Y. Jones of C.O.P.E. Center North. 

Vanessa Valle is an asset to our community. Kendall Toyota and the Bean Automotive Group are proud to give the Teacher of the Year a new Toyota. It’s the 10th year the auto dealer has participated in the ceremony and continues to support the teachers of Miami-Dade. 

In addition to the new car, Miss Valle also received $5,000 and a gift basket. She will also advance to the state-level Teacher of the Year competition held in Tallahassee where she will compete with the other 74 Florida district teachers of the year.

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