Cedarlane Academy Special Education Specialist Named HLPUSD Teacher of the Year
CITY OF INDUSTRY - Hacienda La Puente Unified has named Cedarlane Academy Special Education Specialist Perla Granados-Ordaz the 2023 District Teacher of the Year, recognizing her success in creating transformative and innovative learning experiences and providing a positive impact on students, families and the Thunderbird community. Granados-Ordaz specializes in the instruction of sixth through eighth-grade students.
District administrators, Principal Kim Lee and colleagues surprised Granados-Ordaz in her classroom with flowers, kudos and praise to announce the news on April 21, celebrating her customized lesson plans and numerous accomplishments, including coaching the school's top-ranked robotics and speech and debate teams.
Granados-Ordaz will move on to participate in the 42nd annual Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year competition, hosted by the Los Angeles County Office of Education to focus public attention on teaching excellence and honor exemplary dedication, compelling classroom practices and professional commitment.
"I felt so many emotions when the District shared the news with me," Granados-Ordaz said. "I was surprised, overwhelmed with joy, honored and everything in between. Nothing like this has ever happened to me and I feel so grateful. I show up each day for my students with the goal of teaching them the skills they need to be ready for high school. When they're ready to promote, I know I have done everything I can to ensure they succeed in the future."
Growing up with a younger sibling who had attention deficit hyperactive disorder, she learned the importance of educating a family about special education and school programs available to support student needs. In elementary school, she began volunteering in special education classrooms and said that she quickly found that teaching was her passion.
Upon completing high school, she worked as an instructional aide and pursued her studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. While working as a substitute teacher, she obtained a master's degree in Special Education and a Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential. She has been a proud Cedarlane Academy educator for the past seven years.
"When I think about transformative and innovative learning, I always think about Mrs. Granados," Lee said. "She encourages her students to think outside of the box by implementing the core skills of our global partnership with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, enabling her students to thrive in a challenging environment.”
During her study skills course, Granados-Ordaz prepares students for success by collaborating with her students' educators to better understand areas of opportunity and teach new skills. She also incorporates executive and functional skills into their routines, including organizing backpacks and supplies and enforcing deadlines to teach discipline.
Additionally, she has helped the school's robotics and speech and debate programs grow as they continually receive top honors in numerous competitions. Some of these accomplishments include leading the elementary and middle school robotics teams to the 2023 Regionals and winning the 2023 Large School Middle School District Championships for Speech and Debate. Granados-Ordaz is currently gearing up to support her seven advancing speech and debate students on their journey to the 2023 National Championships this June.
“Thank you to our exceptional educator Mrs. Granados for your commitment to providing our students valuable learning opportunities in education and life,” Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. “On behalf of the entire Board of Education, we commend all our educators on another successful year dedicated to creating hands-on project-based education and real-life practices that inspire our students to dream big.”
HLPUSD_DISTRICTTEACHEROFTHEYEAR1: Sixth-through-eighth-grade special education specialist Perla Granados-Ordaz is celebrated during the 42nd Annual Los Angeles County Office of Education Teachers of the Year Program banquet on Sept. 22.