Lee Ann Parker currently teaches first grade at Buena Vista Horace Mann, San Francisco’s oldest Spanish Immersion School. This is her twenty-third year at the school. Heather Wagerfeld, a parent whose two sons have both been in Lee Ann’s class, remarks, “It is almost impossible to know where to start when it comes to listing the outstanding qualities of Lee Ann Parker.”
Parents appreciate the innovative ways in which Lee Ann supports each child as an individual, while building a classroom community. Every Friday, Lee Ann chooses one of the students in her class to be “especial.” That student brings in three objects to share, and then the class interviews the student and collectively writes a paragraph about him/her. “This simple routine accomplishes so much for the students,” Tara Kini, a parent, writes, “building community and sharing differences and similarities across the numerous cultural backgrounds represented in the classroom; making every child feel special and important for a day; modeling interviewing skills, reading aloud…And probably a bunch of other skills that I just wasn’t aware of, as a parent observing.”
Lee Ann not only makes her students feel special, she makes parents feel valued as well. Lorraine Peña, another parent, writes, “I thought I was the only one getting the personal emails and messages whenever there was something of concern or particularly gratifying going on with Diego, but she actually takes the time to do that for every single child in her class.” She recalls, “I distinctly remember getting an elated email one day when Diego was finally able to read El Dinosaurio Chiquito fluidly on his own.” Another parent fondly remembers when Lee Ann checked in with him after his child went home with a stomachache.
Lee Ann challenges her students academically, instilling in them a love of learning while improving their reading, writing, and math skills. Dale Zink and Howard Evans, Mariah’s parents, write, “We’ve seen impressive progress in our daughter’s development, and we contribute that to Lee Ann’s teaching abilities. Our daughter loves to read to us and enjoys playing teacher. She imitates the way Lee Ann reads to her class, and we can see the same sparkle in our daughter’s eyes that Lee Ann has in hers.”
“Each and every one of her pupils over her decades at the school will sing her praise,” one parent writes about Lee Ann. We couldn’t agree more, and we are honored to recognize Lee Ann’s great work by giving her our March Teacher of the Month Award, which comes with a $1,500 honorarium to spend as she wishes.