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Posted March 1, 2012

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Carlos Rey ES Teacher Recognized for Enthusiasm, Leadership

Maggie Higgins’ classroom is a busy place

Maggie Higgins (in the back) with her second graders.

To a visitor, the energy level and buzz of activity in Maggie Higgins’ second-grade classroom might be a little intimidating. And that’s just at reading time.

“They’re at that exploratory age where they love everything,” Higgins said. “They do enjoy reading.”

Higgins, who teaches in the dual language program at Carlos Rey Elementary, was presented with the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month award for February in front of her charged-up charges.

Pepsi and the Foundation present the monthly recognition for teachers. Award-winners receive $50 from Pepsi.

Remarkably, Higgins is in only her second year of teaching. It’s something she decided in college that she wanted to do, and “couldn’t imagine doing anything else.” She hit the ground running at Carlos Rey.

“I nominated Maggie as teacher of the month because of her willingness to step in, her compassion for kids and her flexibility,” Carlos Rey Principal Judy Touloumis said. “She has always been willing and eager to learn new technology and is regarded on our campus as a leader.”

Higgins teaches in English with half of the students, while a partner teacher works with the other half next door in Spanish, and then they trade students. She is fluent in Spanish because she wants to be able to talk to the parents of her students, all of whom are English language learners.

“The students I met in Maggie Higgins’ class couldn’t be more excited about reading and learning,” APS Education Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus said. “That’s a positive reflection on their teacher. Our outstanding teachers pump enthusiasm into their classrooms every day all over the district, and it’s important to recognize those efforts through our teacher of the month award.”

It’s a lot of working getting established as a new teacher, but Higgins was quick to recognize her colleagues for helping her get started.

“The other teachers here have been really receptive to me,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of help.”

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