Tucson Values Teachers surprised five local educators this week with the Teacher Excellence Award. As a special edition of the award for Teacher Appreciation Week, Tucson Values Teachers asked students to submit video nominations.
Teachers who received the Teacher Excellence Award this week include:
Ganesh Tiwari: Science teacher at Nogales High School School in Nogales Unified School District. He was nominated by Adrian Velazquez-Martinez, a junior at Nogales High. The nominating video can be found here. Mr. Tiwari is pictured with Principal Tim Colgate. Mr. Tiwari has been teaching for 19 years, joining Nogales High School in 2013. He currently teaches Regular Biology II to juniors and Physical Science to freshmen. Mr. Tiwari also sponsors the F.O.R. Club, which focuses on spreading love, compassion, and kindness among students and the community.
Kylie Baker: Kindergarten teacher at Manzanita Elementary School in Catalina Foothills School District. She was nominated by Elizabeth Sipe, one of her students. The nominating video can be found here. Mrs. Baker is in her seventh year of teaching and her third at Manzanita Elementary School.
Mayra Ruiz: 2nd grade teacher at Hollinger K-8 in Tucson Unified School District. She was nominated by Sophia and Samantha, two of her students. The nominating video can be found here. Ms. Ruiz is in her third year of teaching at Hollinger. Her mother, sisters, and nephews also attended the award presentation.
Jim Mentz: PE teacher at Palo Verde High School in Tucson Unified School District. He was nominated by several of his high school students. The nominating video can be found here. Mr. Mentz has taught in Southern Arizona for more than 30 years. He is in his 25th year teaching at Palo Verde. He also coaches baseball and girls soccer.
Lauren Ochoa: 8th grade science teacher at Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 in Marana Unified School District. She was nominated by Syed Batiz, one of her 8th grade students and Vice President of the Student Council. The nominating video can be found here. Ms. Ochoa is in her first year of teaching after working towards an advanced degree in microbiology. In addition to teaching 8th grade science, she teaches the coding elective for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.