The second winner of OYEA, Liliana Aguas, is a 2nd grade dual-language immersion teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif. Aguas is committed to educating the whole child by promoting a genuine sense of community where students learn cooperatively, are intellectually challenged, and where their learning needs are met through differentiated instruction. Aguas’ students participate in activities that promote self-discovery, such as creative writing, reader’s theater, and multicultural literature exploration. Aguas also creates a classroom environment that promotes student discovery of surrounding culture, bilingualism, and social justice.

Aguas’ classroom is a living environment designed for project-based learning, featuring a native plant garden and a tadpole and caterpillar habitat. Recently, Aguas held an international fair for her students and parents with poster presentations and a potluck, featuring dishes and music from the different countries the students researched. Aguas establishes strong partnerships with her students’ families and hosts “cafecitos,” or coffee time, with her Spanish-speaking parents.

“I am both humbled and honored to win this award,” said Aguas. “My philosophy of education involves engaging students in an exciting, hands-on, minds-on learning environment where the whole child is given the opportunity to explore the world on his or her own terms, awakening their sense of wonder and amazement. I address my students’ needs for autonomy, community, competence, and fairness by creating a safe learning environment where students flourish academically and socially.”

“Both of the educators selected for the award this year make incredible contributions in their school and their local communities,” said Dr. Gene R. Carter, executive director and CEO of ASCD. “Each works hard each day to dedicate their career to educating the whole child, and they continue to inspire greatness in the lives that they touch on a daily basis.”

ASCD is currently accepting nominations for next year’s award. To nominate someone or learn more about the OYEA program, visit www.ascd.org/oyea.