To know deeper understanding, it takes an education infused with innovation. St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School congratulates Cristina Rodriguez-Villa on being named an Emerging Leader by the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL). This high honor is only given to 50 of the best and brightest language educators across the country. As an Emerging Leader, she will be a part of a cohort that will participate in a two-year summer institute for the Leadership Initiative for Language Learning.
Cristina Rodriguez-Villa has been with St. Thomas for 11 years. She began as a kindergarten associate teacher, and in 2014, she became the Spanish teacher and Team Curriculum Leader. Her goal has been to create an active learning environment where young learners are engaged and motivated to explore other cultures, and acquire skills to understand and communicate in Spanish in a real-life context. St. Thomas’ Spanish program begins in preschool and continues through 5th grade. Mrs. Rodriguez-Villa was instrumental in implementing “Almuerza y Conversa,” an activity where 4th grade students meet weekly with Spanish teachers and classmates during lunchtime to practice using their second-language in a real life setting. Additionally, preschool students take part in “Merienda y Conversa,” where they meet weekly with a Spanish teacher during snack time to increase their language exposure.
St. Thomas is extremely proud of Mrs. Rodriguez-Villa and the commendable accomplishments that she has made. Head of School Lillian Issa said, “Our teachers take advantage of a robust professional development program that keeps them abreast of the latest research and best practices.” Mrs. Rodriguez-Villa will adopt what she’s learned as an Emerging Leader to create a better educational experience that excites and engages young students.