Every Monday on KSEE24, we honor a teacher in our community who's making a difference. We visit a very special class in Kerman. David Marcus has our KSEE24 "Educator of the Week."
"Okay, good job! High five! Have a seat!"
Maria Santiago is one of a kind. She's a special ed teacher based out of Kerman Middle School, working with kids who have moderate to severe learning disabilities.
"Some of them are non-verbal, what we call non-verbal. They have three sets of language, but expressively, they can not tell you what they're thinking, so we have a lot of communication devices to help them, with a lot of visual icons."
Miss Santiago relies on two assistants each day, called para-educators. They're invaluable in helping her run a busy classroom.
"I couldn't do it without my para's....They're both my right hand. Basically, my family and my son, who's the reason I'm here."
Miss Santiago's oldest son has autism and it's made her an even more caring mother and teacher. She doesn't just teach these kids, she gives them a huge sense of pride and endless support....And their parents notice.
"Thursday, November first....2011!"
"They told us they noticed a difference...They seem to be more confident...They start to speak a lot more....They're more excited about school."
So, congratulations to Maria Santiago. She's not just a teacher....She's like a second mother to these kids...And she's our KSEE24 Educator of the Week.
Maria Santiago has taught Special Ed in Kerman for seven years. She's a proud Fresno State alum and has four kids of her own.
And if you'd like to nominate someone to be our educator of the week, it's easy! Just go to our website, KSEE24.com. Then, click on community, then submission. Tell us why your choice should be educator of the week!
Every week, the winning teacher and her classroom will receive a $124 gift certificate from GW school supply. They'll also get their names engraved on a brick on the 'teacher and friends of education honor wall', at Fresno State's Kremen School of Education.