Educator Spotlight: December 2013

Educator Spotlight

educator spotlightAnnouncing the December 2013 Educator Spotlight honorees! Congratulations to our educators.

The Educator Spotlight is a monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their Catapult colleagues in recognition of the positive impact they have on children and schools throughout the country. They are our very own shining stars!

  • Barbara Barger – LF Consultant – Purcell, OK
  • Cindy Martinez – Teacher – Fair Lawn, NJ
  • Margaret Mercado – Teacher – Hoboken, NJ
  • Jill Tufaro – Teacher – Metairie, LA

Barbara Barger-Dec2013Barbara Barger – Literacy First Consultant

  • Purcell, OK
  • East Central University (Ada, OK): BS in Ed. & Master in Education (Elementary Ed. & Reading Specialist)

How did you become a Literacy First consultant?

As a reading specialist, I found that the Literacy First Process matched closely with my reading philosophy. I used the process in my teaching and when I neared my retirement from public school, I joined the Literacy First team. In this way, I could still contribute to the educational system by working with teachers and school districts through staff developments and coaching.

What do you love most about being a consultant for Literacy First?

I love sharing the knowledge of reading with our clients and working with the teachers in the classroom. I also appreciate the camaraderie of the Literacy First family.

What is your greatest Literacy First consulting success story?

In any school you find those “literacy stars” that stand out. One such person was a Kindergarten teacher in a small school. She was creative, enthusiastic, and loved teaching. She was hesitant to try this “Literacy First” process that her school had adopted, but being a dedicated teacher she agreed to try it. Within weeks, she became the number one supporter of the process and wondered what she ever did without it. She didn’t stop with just using it in her classroom, she talked with Legislators and others about the importance of this process.

What have you learned from your experience as a consultant?

Teachers are a dedicated group, who want to grow in their profession and want to make their teaching more effective. As a consultant, I can help them with that growth, which in turn helps the children in their classrooms. Throughout my consulting experience I, too, have grown professionally. It has all been an incredible journey.

Cindy Martinez - Dec2013Cindy Martinez – Teacher

  • Fair Lawn, NJ
  • Montclair State University

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher to help make a difference in a child’s life.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love the diversity of the students I work with.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

When I hear a struggling reader, read a simple book on his/her own.

What have you learned from your students?

I learned that a smile can make a world of difference in the way a child acts in my class.

Margaret Mercado-Dec2013Margaret Mercado – Teacher

  • Hoboken, NJ
  • New Jersey City University: Early Childhood Education

Why did you become a teacher?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a teacher. I guess you can say I was born to teach.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

The thing I love most about teaching for Catapult would probably be working with the children to achieve success.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

Just the other day my daughter came home and told me she met the mom of a former student. The mom told my daughter that “if it wasn’t for your mom, my son would not be where he is today”. It’s success stories like this that have made working for Catapult meaningful.

What have you learned from your students?

Every student is an individual with specific needs.

Jill Tufaro-Dec2013Jill Tufaro – Teacher

  • Metairie, LA
  • Loyola University: Sociology
    Our Lady of Holy Cross: Alternative Teacher Certification Program

Why did you become a teacher?

I chose teaching because I was looking for a job that was meaningful to me. I enjoy helping children gain the foundation needed to be successful in the classroom and throughout life.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love having the opportunity to help boost our students’ abilities and self-esteem. It is rewarding to have children look forward to our class time. I believe this is because they are able to learn in a fun atmosphere with no grades or tests.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

It has been extremely rewarding to teach the same students over several years. I’ve seen struggling students, with very negative views about reading, develop their skills and gain the confidence needed to enjoy reading aloud to classmates. One of my weakest students has made such academic strides. He serves as a leader in our group today. Getting the opportunity to see information “click” for a student is very fulfilling.

What have you learned from your students?

Students need encouragement and opportunities to succeed. Our class may be the most uplifting time of their day. When we provide an opportunity for students to learn on the appropriate academic level, in a stress-free environment, they can build the skills and confidence needed to gain academic success. I have learned that children learn at different paces. With time and encouragement, they can exceed our expectations.

Catapult Learning has long recognized that our teachers, coaches, specialized services professionals, and consultants are the foundation upon which our company stands. We literally wouldn’t be here without their tireless efforts to help struggling students succeed!

Thanks again to all of this month’s honorees! You can thank them too, please leave your comments for our educators below!


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