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Posted: May 6, 2010

Dual language librarian at East San Jose named teacher of the month

Barbara Gabaldon, a dual-language librarian, is named Teacher of the Month

Barbara Gabaldon, a dual-language librarian, is named Teacher of the Month

Barbara Gabaldon didn’t think it was odd that she was named the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month recently even though she is a librarian at East San José Elementary School. Gabaldon sees herself as an educator of both students and teachers in her capacity as a dual-language librarian at the Downtown school.

Gabaldon began her career with APS 16 years ago as a teacher at Alvarado Elementary, where she helped start its dual language program. She also was a dual-language teacher at East San José before going to work for Dual Language Education of New Mexico, an organization that helped put together La Cosecha, a national conference for dual language educators.

Needless to say, she is passionate about dual-language education. “It gives English speaking students and Spanish speaking students the best opportunity to be bilingual and bi-literate and to develop cross cultural competencies which they can’t do as successfully in one-way immersion education,” she said.

Gabaldon is the most recent honoree of the Teacher of the Month award that began earlier this year by Pepsi and Education Foundation to recognize APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community. The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal is asked to choose a teacher to be honored. The teachers receive a $50 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website and Facebook page.

East San José principal Steve Tognoni said Gabaldon’s experience, commitment and passion made her a natural candidate for the Teacher of the Month award.

“Ms. Gabaldon has been the librarian at East San José for the past eight years. In that time she has created a library that is a terrific place to read and learn,” Tognoni said. “Ms. Gabaldon is known by our students, parents and staff as an active member of our school community. She is a bilingually endorsed librarian, consequently our students have a wide variety of books in both English and Spanish.”

Tognoni added that Gabaldon is a member of the school’s language arts goal team, which puts together a family reading night, Noche de Libro. She also helps prepare students, volunteers and teachers for the school’s annual Voces Poeticas poetry competition.

"As you can imagine, these tasks take on a level of leadership and organizational skills that require an understanding of the schools needs and focus, all of which Ms. Gabaldon possess,” Tognoni said.

Phill Casaus, executive director of the Foundation, said Gabaldon is representative of the great work that’s going on in classrooms – and libraries – throughout the district.

“One of the best parts of the Teacher of the Month program is meeting people in our schools like Barbara Gabaldon whose hard work, dedication and creativity immensely benefit our kids,” Casaus said. “I want to congratulate Barbara and the staff at East San José, and I look forward to honoring additional deserving teachers, and librarians, in the months to come.”