Brenda Martinez, Radarmes Galarza and Elissa Guarnero – teachers and founders of Milwaukee Public School’s ALBA School – were honored Friday by ‘People’ as among the magazine’s “Teachers of the Year.”
The winners receive $4,000 for their school – and $1,000 for themselves.
The three founded ALBA – Academia de Lenguaje y Bellas Artes – as a bilingual MPS charter school on the city’s south side aimed at developing positive self-identity in bilingual students through the fine arts and a rigorous curriculum. ALBA was rated “Exceeds Expectations” in the latest state report card and its students surpassed state averages in reading achievement growth, mathematics achievement growth and overall math achievement.
In addition to the award presented by Jeff Truesdell of “People,” the teachers were honored with a proclamation from the state legislature, presented by Rep. Josh Zepnick, who represents the area surrounding the school in the state Assembly. Rep. Zepnick was joined by fellow Milwaukee lawmaker Rep. JoCasta Zamarippa.
“The ‘People’ magazine Teacher of the Year Award reaffirms my belief that dreams can come true with dedication, a lot of hard work, and a great support system. Thank you ‘People’ magazine for celebrating the dream come true of ALBA School,” said Martinez, teacher leader at the school.
Guernero said “this award shines the spotlight on ALBA school and the wonderful progress that occurs daily through the hard work and dedication of our staff, students and families.”
“This is my childhood dream come true,” Galarza said. “My goal was to work for MPS and make a difference for the language learners, just as my teachers made a difference for me. This recognition is for all teachers who give their all for the future of our children.”