GURNEE – Woodland Elementary West reading recovery teacher Vianey Soriaga will be recognized by the village of Gurnee in May as one of its three Teachers of the Year for 2019.
“I feel very fortunate and humble to work with the amazing students and teachers from Woodland. Helping students read and write in two languages is my greatest passion. Woodland has been my family for 20 years,” she said in a news release.
Soriaga started at Woodland as a classroom kindergarten teacher, followed by teaching English as a second language, bilingual first grade, Spanish dual first grade and teaching reading recovery, which means she works with bilingual students by helping them accelerate their literacy in both languages.
Over the years, she said her focus has been on supporting literacy and establishing a close relationship with families. “I address the needs of the whole child, which is essential for learning and helping them reach their full potential,” she said.
Her nomination was among more than 200 this year from students, staff and parents at Woodland District 50. The village will recognize Soriaga and teachers from Gurnee District 56 and Warren Township High School at the village board meeting.
The daughter of parents who were both teachers, Soriaga’s passion for teaching began when she lived in Mexico. She attended Vocacional High School Centro Regional de Educacion Normal and received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood from Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Iguala in Guerrero, Mexico. She also has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University and is reading recovery certified.
Soriaga was surprised with the announcement at an Elementary West staff meeting April 3. She was presented with a certificate, flowers and balloons from Principal Ryan Wollberg, Assistant Principals Kristi Blasius and Jennifer Pilcher, and Lori Casey, associate superintendent of education.
Woodland District 50 recognizes the winners from each school who were considered as finalists for Woodland’s Gurnee Teacher of the Year: Sarah Baier, music teacher, Woodland Primary; Lisa Valentine, first-grade teacher, Woodland Elementary East; Jennifer Baker, fourth-grade teacher, Woodland Intermediate; and Bill Polston, sixth-grade math, Woodland Middle School.