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Patricia Rodriguez Named 2024 SDCOE Teacher of the Year

Patricia Rodriguez Named 2024 SDCOE Teacher of the Year

Though her teaching space changes from day to day, or even hour to hour, Patricia Rodriguez’s passion for supporting families and helping them see the potential in their young children is unwavering.

This drive and dedication are why Rodriguez was selected the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) teacher of the year. The panel that selected her said it was impressed with her pedagogical expertise, her thoughtful demeanor, and her commitment to equity.

Janna Piper, who nominated her, said Rodriguez supports students and families as well as other teachers.

“Ultimately, Patricia recognizes the potential in others before they see it in themselves and helps them to reach it,” she explained. “She is a true shooting star and has the compassion, creativity, and commitment to inspire our youngest students.”

When most people think of teachers, they picture someone in front of a classroom full of kids. However, for Rodriguez and other itinerant teachers, their work looks much different. As a teacher with the HOPE Infant Family Support program, Rodriguez visits families’ homes throughout North County to help their young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“Patricia truly demonstrates in her work with families that the parent or caregiver is the child’s best first teacher,” Piper explained. “She asks open-ended and reflective questions, which allows families to feel comfortable and willing to give more information.”

Rodriguez prepares some of our youngest students for success in preschool and kindergarten by sharing research-based intervention strategies that families can then use themselves. This helps them with the child’s development and to build their family bond. She also supports them by sharing community resources, a vital component of SDCOE’s North Star goal to reduce poverty.

“It is rewarding when families can access community resources, education programs, identify their child’s strengths, and partner with schools,” Rodriguez said. “Building trusting relationships with families is at the core of my teaching.”

Being trilingual also helps her connect with families and better learn about their cultures. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

Rodriguez started as a teacher in 2002 and worked for the Kings and Riverside county offices of education before coming to SDCOE in 2012.

“My passion has always been to ‘see’ all children and provide inclusive environments with full access to education,” she said.

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