Compiled by education reporter Brittany Shammas
Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a series of reports on the six Golden Apple winners in Collier County leading up to the May 10 Golden Apple banquet. The reports are publishing twice weekly in the Daily News leading up to the banquet.
Golden Apple teacher: Judy Ramirez
Family: Married to Alex Ramirez; mother, Ysabel Lora; sister, Lisbel Lora; and brother, Emanuel Lora
Current position: Kindergarten teacher at Eden Park Elementary in Immokalee
Experience: Almost three years (a little over 2.5)
Education: Florida Gulf Coast University
Hometown: New York City
Q: How long have you lived in Collier County?
A: 18 years
Q: Who will introduce you at the Golden Apple Awards?
A: Eric Martinez-Rios (current student)
Q: How did you get into teaching? What made you want to be a teacher?
A: From a very young age, I always knew that if I became a teacher, I wanted to create an environment where students wanted to come to school and where learning would be an adventure.
Q: What is your teaching philosophy or style?
A: To teach with intensity and enthusiasm, because when you display those qualities, students will WANT to learn, and they will be engaged and eager to learn new things.
Q: What does receiving this award mean to you?
A: It is by far one of the biggest honors I have ever received!!! To have won a Golden Apple award along with my fellow recipients — Catherine, Andrew, Khris, Sarah, and Kathleen — has been one of the happiest moments in my life. I am blessed by God to be in a profession that I enjoy so much. Collier County has amazing teachers. To receive this recognition, it’s humbling.
Q: It has been said that the Golden Apple Award gives teachers a public platform to discuss their profession. What would you like the public to know about your profession?
A: That it is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. I don’t have to personally know other teachers to know the passion and dedication that goes with this profession. I firmly believe that students benefit from differentiated instruction. All students are individuals with strengths and needs, and teachers, districts and legislators have the most rewarding responsibility of assuring that students receive a curriculum that meets their individual needs and that develops their strengths and talents.
Thoughts from Eden Park Elementary Principal Linda Salazar:
It is my wish when our students reach their adult goals, they reflect on their years at Eden Park Elementary fondly and with countless memories. Of this I am confident, any student in Judy Ramirez’s class will remember her warmheartedly. She is the type of teacher every student should have multiple times in their education. Judy is truly an inclusive person. She models and teaches acceptance of all types of differences, thus creating an unbelievable atmosphere of caring. She is inspirational as she motivates students to believe in themselves. Judy makes learning so much fun. While many observers walk away having noticed all the devices and tools she uses creatively, I walk away equally impressed but also fascinated at the level of learning her students demonstrate each and every day. Judy expends a lot of energy every day — she’s “on” from the minute she enters her classroom. But it is what happens beforehand that is her greatest accomplishment. Judy takes time to plan strategically so each of her students is taught from where they are to where they should be. The whole package creates incredibly happy and successful students who adore their teacher! We are so fortunate to have her as a part of our Eden Park team.
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