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Region 20 award for SAISD Spanish teacher

marie-marks-2021On Friday, Marie Marks received quite the surprise before heading home for the weekend. As the Spanish teacher at Young Women’s Leadership Academy was speaking with a group of students, District and Region 20 administrators burst into her classroom with balloons, flowers and the news that Marks had been awarded the 2021 Education Service Center Region 20 Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Teacher of the Year Award.


“It was a lovely surprise,” said Marks. “We took photos with the students – they were excited, too!” 


Marks will be recognized by her peers during the virtual 2021 LOTE: World Language Educators Institute on June 22, 2021.  


“This accomplishment is a true testament to the hard work, dedication, and countless hours you have invested in the students you serve,” said Jeff Goldhorn, executive director of Education Service Center, Region 20 in an award letter. “You are indeed the embodiment of what we look for in teachers.” 


The award recognizes teaching excellence, willingness to devote time and energy to activities that result in improved instruction for students in LOTE classrooms, contribution to LOTE education, and respect of administrators, co-workers, parents, and students. 


“During a time when being an educator is the most challenging it has ever been, there are few that can achieve both academic success while balancing the social-emotional wellbeing of students allowing them to truly feel connected to the school while learning remotely,” said YWLA Principal Regina Arzamendi. “Miss Marks has been able to achieve both and is a gift that we at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy are truly grateful to have.” 


Since the LOTE Teacher of the Year Award was established four years ago, three of the four winners have been San Antonio ISD world language teachers. 


“Ms. Marks works collaboratively with her District peers and me to fulfill our mission to empower students with 21st-century skills as they develop linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy in multiple languages,” said Martha Vasquez, SAISD World Language coordinator. “I am proud of the work that we will continue to accomplish together.” 


Marks was YWLA’s Teacher of the Year in 2020 just prior to the pandemic and was also recognized at the District-level as SAISD’s 2020 Distinguished Teacher of the Year. Most recently, Marks was named the KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL Award winner for the 2020-2021 school year while teaching during a global pandemic. 


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