Tonya Hernandez named AEA 267 Outstanding Paraeducator

Outstanding Paraeducator Award recipient Tonya Hernandez with her daughter, Katelyn Husemann (left) and Amy Knupp (right) from AEA 267.

Marshalltown High School’s Tonya Hernandez is a recipient of AEA 267’s Outstanding Paraeducator Award for 2012.

“I was very surprised and honored to receive an award for a job that I look forward to doing every day,” said Hernandez, who is finishing her fourth school year as a paraeducator and bilingual tutor at the high school.

“This year is especially emotional for me because my freshman that I started with are graduating this year and I feel very proud to have been a part of their learning and lives,” she said.

MHS teachers Kelley Dickey, Jessica Cakrasenjaya and Kristie Miranda nominated Hernandez, noting her dedication and compassion.

“Tonya’s ability to connect and determination to help each individual student creates a special kind of relationship with these students,” Cakrasenjaya said. “There is a mutual respect between Tonya and her students in a professional relationship while still having the ability to be someone the students can count on for anything.”

Working with students has inspired Hernandez to return to the classroom herself, taking college courses on the path to becoming an ELL teacher.

“It is a real honor to receive this award and be recognized for the work I do and I thank all of the people that recommended me for it with all of my heart,” Hernandez said. “But I also must admit that working with the students and seeing their faces light up when they grasp even the smallest concept is an award in itself!”

Hernandez is one of three paraeducators across AEA 267 honored with this award out of its 57 public and 20 non-public school systems. Several other Marshalltown paraeducators were also nominated for this award: Mary Borton, Deena Chedester, Robert Griffin and Greg Lacey.