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Posted May 2, 2011

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Gym at M.A. Binford to be Named for PE Teacher

Janice Saavedra Dedicated 23 Years to the School

Mary Ann Binford Elementary School will dedicate the school’s gymnasium in honor of beloved coach Janice Saavedra who had taught at the school for 23 years at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the school, 1400 Corriz SW. A reception will follow the dedication at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

Saavedra dedicated her career to Mary Ann Binford Elementary and its community. She was well respected by peers and parents. And she was loved by her students. She lost her long battle with cancer in July 2010. On Jan. 19, the APS Board of Education unanimously approved naming the gym at Mary Ann Binford the “Janice Saavedra Gymnasium.”

Saavedra began her career as a fifth grade teacher. She became the physical education teacher a couple of years later. She dedicated all 23 years of her career to Mary Ann Binford Elementary.

Her gift of teaching was evident by the students' enthusiasm to attend her PE classes. She started the play day year-end outdoor celebration, which has become a much anticipated end of the year event. In addition, she implemented the annual Fun Run for 22 years to help promote fitness. This event now bears her name. This year the Janice Saavedra Fun Run will be held on Saturday, May 7.

Saavedra also was a school leader. She served on many school committees, providing a respected leadership for the staff. She was also ready to help staff members. In addition, she was welcoming to new teachers and made them feel at home. She was instrumental in implementing the Conflict Mediation Program, which is the longest standing conflict mediation program in the state. She put countless hours of work into the program to ensure a safe and peaceful environment at Mary Ann Binford.

Saavedra also was crucial in organizing the after-school program at Mary Ann Binford, providing both academic support and sports programs for students.

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