Ms. Brownell, who teaches 4th grade, has been elected Teacher of the Year by her peers at Northeast Campus. Ms. Valadez, a teacher's aide, has been named Employee of the Year.
Both will be contestants for district Teacher and Employee of the Year, respectively.
Ms. Brownell has been teaching at Varnett for 10 years and this was her first year at the Northeast Campus. Her previous nine years were at Southwest. She has taught the same grade the entire time. "They didn't want to move me out of 4th grade," she said with a laugh. Overall, Ms. Brownell is a 22-year veteran, serving stints as a special education teacher at Westbury High School and previously at Christian schools. She originally is from Liberia in West Africa.
Ms. Valadez came to Varnett in 2009 and has spent all of her time at Northeast. She's a former ESL and Special Education aide and is now teaching 1st grade. Before entering the field of education, Ms. Valadez worked at a lumber company in the areas of accounts receivable and as a receptionist. Her son started PreK-4 at the East Campus and "that's when I found out about a job opening" at Varnett. When she learned that she was voted Northeast's Employee of the Year, she said, "I was excited and cried all afternoon."
Both are candidates for district Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year.
Good luck to the candidates and congratulations!
Photo: Ms. Brownell, left, and Ms. Valadez.
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