Chandler elementary school educator wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute

Jul 26, 2022, 3:30 PM

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PHOENIX — A Chandler elementary school educator has been named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show‘s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for July, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

Diana Perez just completed her first week as a sixth grade teacher at Rice Elementary School as part of the Chandler Unified School District, finally getting her own classroom after serving in various roles for the district over the past five years.

“Becoming a teacher is something that I’ve wanted since I was a little kid,” Perez said.

“(It’s) something that I’m truly passionate about, making a difference and just being someone that my students can come to and feel safe and feel loved. Social-emotional health is a big thing for me too, not only the academic part of it.”

Perez said the first week in the classroom went great and she was able to make connections with her students.

Making that dream come true took a lot of effort as the mother of four worked full-time while earning her Master of Education from Grand Canyon University, including doubling up on classes.

“It was really hard but it was so worth it,” Perez said.

Having met her goal of becoming a teacher, Perez now must outfit her classroom. That is where she said the $2,500 of prize money will go.

In addition to classroom supplies, which can be difficult for a first-year teacher, Perez said she is working to provide her students with something she never had – flexible seating.

“I feel that it’s very hard for kids to sit still for an entire day and to focus,” Perez said. “Flexible seating options give those students to be able to stay engaged, focused and be more involved in their learning.”

The person who nominated Perez for the award praised her selfless dedication to students and said they are lucky enough to have one of their own children be in her first class.

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Chandler elementary school educator wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute