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Congratulations to the 2020 Teachers of the Year!

Successfully ending a school year is always a momentous occasion, but the academic achievements and student growth made this school year, in particular, are worth celebrating. Teachers around the world were faced with the unprecedented challenge of quickly adapting their lessons to a remote format while trying to find ways to keep students engaged in their learning from home. The culmination of this school year was no small feat, and we were inspired by the hard work and innovation of educators worldwide.

This year, Participate Learning recognized three outstanding ambassadors as our 2020 Teacher of the Year recipients. These educators transcended expectations in the core competencies of sharing their cultures, mastering instruction, expanding their leadership impact, adopting a growth mindset, and embodying inclusivity in and out of the classroom. Their dedication to uniting our world and expanding young minds was evident in all their work, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for their commitment to global education.

Meet the ambassadors

Jose Luis Rodriguez Quitian is a third-year ambassador from Colombia. He is currently teaching in a dual language, first grade classroom at Kitty Hawk Elementary in Dare County, North Carolina. This school year, he had four main goals for his students:

  • To become global learners
  • To develop an appreciation of diverse perspectives
  • To understand the connection between animals, the ecosystem, and ourselves
  • To collaborate across cultures and countries

“I have increased the focus on making a difference outside of the classroom with a specific focus on cultural awareness, the environment, sustainable resources, and promoting kindness. During ‘Cultural Fridays,’ our guest speakers share information and fun facts about their cultural heritage with students. They also share information about climate change challenges their country is facing.”   

Martha Lucia Camacho Higuera is a second-year ambassador from Colombia. She teaches Spanish at AC Reynolds Middle School in Buncombe County, North Carolina. She works in multiple classroom settings as the middle school Spanish elective teacher, the high school Spanish credit teacher, and in a Conexiones classroom. Her goal as an ambassador is to inspire excitement and passion for Hispanic culture and language through creative, collaborative activities inside and outside of the classroom.

“I am passionate about being an ambassador teacher because it has given me the chance to blend my two passions: culture and teaching. I think this experience has allowed me to grow as a professional. Planning lessons about global issues has made me more aware of the social role of education.”

Originally from the U.K., Jake Roberts is currently working as a second-year ambassador in a third grade classroom at Stallings Elementary in Union County, North Carolina. His core teaching philosophy is to ensure that the social and emotional well-being of each student in his class is met so they are equipped to learn. He believes that through cross-cultural education, he can make learning exciting for students and develop their critical thinking skills for the future.

“In times of globalization, with children from all over the world, it is important to see that teachers can come from all over the world too. It is very important to show the local community that different cultures are something to be celebrated. As an ambassador with Participate Learning, we are given this unique opportunity and responsibility!”

Congratulations and celebrations

“I often state during arrival orientation that to have made it into Participate Learning means you are one of the best teachers in the world. Our teachers improve even more once they are here,” said Participate Learning CEO David Young. “When COVID-19 hit this year, our ambassador teachers were so much better prepared to move their skills and knowledge online, and they are doing an incredible job. We are very proud of our Teachers of the Year and all of the ways they are mixing things up and engaging students.”

Participate Learning would like to congratulate all of our ambassadors for their dedication to uniting our world through global learning and expanding young minds. We are deeply appreciative of the hard work, adaptability, and determination required to finish out this particularly challenging school year on the best foot possible. Congratulations to our three Teacher of the Year recipients!

Follow these stellar educators on Twitter: @RobertsRascals, @MarthaCamachoHi, @quitian_jl, and take a step inside their classrooms to get to know more about them! For more information on how you can teach with Participate Learning too, check out this webpage.