Changing lives one lesson at a time

PORT ISABEL — Yvonne Salinas, a fourth grade math and science teacher at Derry Elementary, went into the field of education with a goal to make positive impacts in students’ lives. By the looks of it, her ambitions and dedication to her career as a teacher have proven to be noteworthy by Point Isabel Independent School District staff.

Every year, all four Point Isabel ISD schools nominate one teacher as “Teacher of the Year.” After those teachers are selected, their nominations are submitted to the district level where one teacher is voted “District Teacher of the Year.”

This year that achievement went to Salinas. Ever since she was a little girl, Salinas knew she wanted to become a teacher. As a child, she “would always play teacher” or as she called it “las escuelitas.”

However, it was her experience in migrant work that gave her the motivation to pursue a career in education.

“I love being able to inspire my students and show them that education is the key to a better

future,” Salinas said.

“I have talked to my students about my experience working in the fields and I tell them there’s more than doing manual labor. I try to always instill in them that they need to do something with their future and go to school.”

Derry Elementary School Principal Maribel Valdez said Salinas “invests her time into every lesson and makes sure she delivers exceptional ones to her students.”

“She started her career here with us at Derry Elementary almost five years ago and we’ve watched her grow as a teacher and as an individual with her students,” Valdez said.

“She makes her lessons engaging, fun and interactive with technology so they’re able to really grasp the skills that they really need to get.”

Salinas has a strong passion for the subjects she teaches.

“I love teaching math and science because there are so many hands-on activities that you can do with your students and make it fun for them,” Salinas said. “Students get to apply

what they learn and it’s very nice seeing their progress.”

Valdez said Salinas’ students “are reluctant to leave her at the end of the school year.”

“They see her the following year and just want to hug her because they missed her and wish she was their teacher all the time.”

Salinas feels honored to “receive such a big accomplishment.” She believes “becoming a teacher has really changed her life” and has words of encouragement for aspiring teachers.

“I know that sometimes the road toward becoming a teacher is hard, but keep working hard so you can accomplish your dreams, Salinas said. “If you really want to teach and have the passion for it, then you will make positive differences in the lives of your students.”

Yvonne Salinas

AGE: 27

OCCUPATION: Fourth grade math and science teacher

SCHOOL: Derry Elementary


HOBBIES: Reading, spending time with her family and finding new teaching strategies she can implement in her classroom