S.L. Mason Elementary

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Teacher of the Year

Gayle Valdez is currently employed with Valdosta City School System as a fifth-grade teacher at S.L. Mason Elementary School. She was born and raised in Wauchula, Florida where she graduated from Hardee Senior High School. Ms. Valdez attended South Florida Community College where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society and named the Education Student of the Year for outstanding performance in the program. She graduated Cum Laude and received an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. Upon moving to Georgia, Ms. Valdez attended Valdosta State University and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education in 2007. Returning to Valdosta State University, Ms. Valdez graduated with a 4.0 grade point average from the Master of Education program in Early Childhood Education in 2011. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Leadership at Valdosta State University.

Over the last eight years, Ms. Valdez has served on numerous committees at S.L. Mason such as: S.L. Mason’s Leadership Team, Response to Intervention (RTI) Team, a Mentor to first year teachers, the Positive Behavior Intervention System Team, the Morale Committee, Fifth Grade Math Lead Teacher, Fifth Grade Chair, First Grade Math Lead Teacher, and Lead Student Council Sponsor. Ms. Valdez has also served as a trainer for various programs such as Promethean, the Online Assessment System, SuccessMaker, and the Grade Book system. Additionally, she has served at the system level as a presenter for the Valdosta City Schools System’s annual Teachers Teaching Teachers workshops and the new teacher workshops. Ms. Valdez has also served as a representative of Valdosta City Schools at the Georgia Department of Education Item and Data Review Workshop for the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.

In addition to the volunteer work at S.L. Mason, Ms. Valdez also volunteers at various capacities with Valdosta State University such as: guest speaking in college-level classes on various topics, presenting for the Blackwater Writing Project Writing Marathon, serving as a local mentor teacher to present at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) on Clinical and Field-Based Teacher Preparation, serving as a mentor teacher to student teachers, practicum students, and interns, serving as an elementary representative for the School Improvement Plan for VSU, and serving on various advisory board committees.

Ms. Valdez attributes her success to her supportive family: A.J. Ramirez, Reed Valdez, Noel Valdez, and Rose Valdez as well as her biggest cheerleader, her mother, Frances Wood. She also accredits her colleagues, both past and present, for support and encouragement recognizing that she could not reach her goals without the collaboration of those around her. In addition, Ms. Valdez is grateful for the young minds she has taught and the families that have made an impact on her over the years.