Left: Ann Gortarez of Patagonia Public Schools. Right: Heather Faley of Mountain View Elementary School.

Patagonia teacher gets shout-out from state schools chief

Ann Gortarez, teacher and director of special education at Patagonia Public Schools, was given special recognition by Kathy Hoffman, Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction during her State of Special Education speech on Tuesday.

Hoffman spoke of how Gotarez had reimagined the Room 409 resource room into an online support center for students in special education and their families.

“Beyond providing the normalcy typically found in the Room 409 classroom, Ms. Gortarez and her team have provided a virtual environment where students are thriving,” Hoffman said. “Students’ skills in learning how and when to use online supports like assistive technology have accelerated in this new environment. And the students’ boosted confidence in using these tools will stay with them when returning to in-person learning.”

Hoffman asked Arizonans to imagine what could be accomplished if all students in special education had access to a fully staffed and fully resourced facility like Room 409.

Educator receives support for advanced studies

Heather Faley, a fourth-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School in Rio Rico, will receive financial support from local organizations as she pursues a master’s degree in educational administration and a principal certification.

The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35 Foundation announced this week via social media that Faley had been selected as the recipient of the Benchmark Foundation of Tubac and the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa Recognition of Excellence Award.

“Ms. Faley is a resident of our community and also a parent of children in the school district. We are proud to be able to support her as she seeks to improve her educational background and move along in her career,” the SCVUSD Foundation said in its post.

The organization said that Faley told them that her advanced studies would help her to see “how school works through a different scope,” and that her goals are to become an assistant principal, principal or part of a business office.

Graduating high school seniors are eligible for local scholarship

The Anne C. Stradling Equine Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for students graduating in the Class of 2021 who are residents of Santa Cruz County attending public or parochial high school, trade school or are homeschooled.

County residents who attend high school in neighboring Pima or Cochise County are also eligible to apply.

The awards are based on scholastic achievement, financial need and extracurricular activities. Enrollment in an agricultural or related course of study is encouraged but not required.

Applications may be obtained from school offices or the Anne C. Stradling Equine Foundation, P.O. Box 248, Sonoita, AZ 85637. Completed applications must be received no later than April 16 to be considered.

The number of scholarships varies depending on available funds and number of applications received.

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