An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
January 25, 2003 - Issue 79
Cecelia Lucero, Laguna Elementary School Teacher, Named 2002 Disney's American Teacher Awards Honoree
Lucero Becomes First Native American Honoree in the 13-year History
"I am a child of the land. My father instilled in me a reverence
for the land of my birth. He taught me a sense of place. In the words
of Irving Standing Chief, 'In my grandfather's time, knowledge of
the world was the power; in this generation, knowledge is the power
of the world.' By integrating traditional Pueblo teachings into my
environmental science lessons, my students are making a connection
to their own sense of place through the knowledge they are gaining
on our reservation. I am teaching a second generation of students
and these children are sharing their knowledge with their parents
who didn't have the opportunity to learn this in the past." --
LAGUNA, New Mexico - Cecelia Lucero, a fourth grade teacher at Laguna Elementary School at Laguna Pueblo, N.M., has been selected a Disney's American Teacher Awards Honoree for 2002.
Lucero is full-blooded Native American enrolled
at the Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico. Lucero is one of 32 teachers
selected from more than 185,000 nominees. Lucero has been teaching
for 30+ years at the elementary school level, mainly at Laguna Elementary
School, where she is now working with a second generation of students.
In July 2003, Lucero will be flown to Los
Angeles with other outstanding teachers from across the country, who
collectively will be received awards totaling $515,000, and who will
be honored for their talents, skills and commitment to their profession.
"Our nation's teachers and their creativity
are an integral component making a positive impact on our nation's
future," said Michael D. Eisner, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney
Company. "Disney's American Teacher Awards is one way to recognize
those whose dedication and devotion educate and help shape our nation's
children. Cecelia Lucero exemplifies the best of the best. It is our
honor to honor her and all the other teachers who do so much for so
Lucero, a member of the Pueblo of Acoma
who teaches at a school where the student populations is 99.9% Native
American, utilizes a wide variety of educational tools along with
traditional Pueblo teachings in her classroom daily. Lucero uses the
Keresan language as an integral part of what is taught when her students
are engaged in thematic units. Keres is the traditional Native language
of 7 of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. Lucero also used traditional
stories as a tool and as a connection to teach the Native American
perspective of what occurs in nature. Lucero also uses legends along
with scientific research on the cycle of the moon to help her students
understand its different phases. Lucero's interest in the brain has
led her to use brain compatible strategies, such as using music for
a number of years to set a mood or to help the learning environment
in her classroom. Lucero has used everything from Mozart, which requires
abstract spatial reasoning, to rap songs that are educationally sound
and conducive to a particular subject. It is the constructive engagement,
combined with her genuine enthusiasm to teach that has earned Cecelia
Lucero a Disney's American Teacher Award.
The 32 honorees, chosen by a national selection
committee comprised of distinguished educators, are nominated in one
of 10 teaching categories. In July 2003, one finalist will be selected
in each category, and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year will be
chosen by the honorees from among the 10 Finalists.
The 10 teaching categories include:
The Walt Disney Company will award $10,000
to each of the 32 honorees, and their respective schools will receive
$5,000. The 10 category finalists each will receive an additional
$5,000. The Outstanding Teacher of the Year will be awarded $25,000,
with $10,000 being given to the Outstanding Teacher's school.
In addition to the awards ceremony and monetary
contributions, honorees will participate in a unique professional
development program focused on innovative approaches to teaching and
learning and leadership development. The teachers and their principals
will attend a workshop in October 2003 at the Walt Disney Resort®
in Orlando, Fla., where they will learn how to share their creative
teaching practices, and also develop an action plan focused on improving
professional collaboration and teacher learning in their schools during
the 2003-2004 school year.
Since 1989, Disney's American Teacher Awards
have saluted exemplary teachers in Kindergarten through 12th grade
for innovative teaching methods that actively engage students in learning.
The focus of Disney's American Teacher Awards is to recognize the
teaching profession, showcase creativity in the classroom and honor
those who assist in developing creative teaching strategies in their
The honorees were chosen by a selection
committee comprised of representatives of the following organizations:
American Association of School Administrators, American Federation
of Teachers, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development,
The Council for American Private Education, Council for Exceptional
Children, Council of Great City Schools, The Galef Institute, Harvard
University's Project Zero, National Association of Elementary School
Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, The
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Education
Association, National Middle School Association and National PTA.
In addition, past Disney's American Teacher Awards honorees have served
on the selection committee.
Disney's American Teacher Awards is part of DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach for the Walt Disney Company, whose mission is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through focused public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in areas including learning, compassion, the arts and the environment. For more information on Disney's American Teacher Awards and Cecelia Lucero's Honoree web page, please visit http://www.disneyhand.com.
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