Erica Barraza, 2018 Fellow
First Grade Teacher & Instructional Coach
Lotus Elementary School | Spring Grove, IL
Erica believes that one of the most significant issues in education today is the critical need for social-emotional learning and character education. Over the past 10 years, she has seen a dramatic change in the way students interact with their peers and adults, which frequently includes physical aggression, dishonesty, and disrespect. She is passionate about teaching her students how to empathize with others, what compassion looks like, and how to understand and regulate their emotions. Her teaching often incorporates service-learning as a means to develop compassion and understanding. Having experienced a tumultuous and challenging childhood herself, Erica knows what it is like for students who are struggling. She believes that connecting and relating with children is the most valuable teaching tool. She dedicates herself to understanding each student’s circumstances and to addressing their unique educational needs. Erica was a previous finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in 2011 and was named a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction that year.
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Erica in the News
Daily Herald: Fox Lake teacher honored with Golden Apple Award