Spanish Lake Elementary’s Lesley Varas-Caraballo is Teacher of the Year

Monday, December 18, 2017 0 Comments

Spanish Lake Elementary’s Lesley Varas-Caraballo is Teacher of the Year

Lesley Varas-Caraballo has been honored as Spanish Lake Elementary’s Teacher of the Year and a selected District finalist. Teaching is embedded into her DNA, as her grandmother in Cuba, her mother, sister and brother are in education.

Varas-Caraballo’s educational road began as a shy kindergarten student to immigrant parents. She was so introverted that the teacher didn’t think she understood English therefore was placed in an ESOL class. In grade two, she was placed in a Chapter 1 remedial class.

She felt quite defeated until her teacher inspired her to believe in herself which led her to receive a district achievement award. From then on, she realized that one day, she could fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.

Varas-Caraballo continued her quest by graduating from the Miami-Dade Public School system completing an associates degree at Miami Dade College, and hen graduating from FIU with honors on a full scholarship.

Nothing would deter her from her goal. Despite working full time during college for a prominent ophthalmologist who did not agree with her field of study (elementary education), she knew she could make a different in the lives of her students.

Growing and learning for 17 years as an educator, she feels that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and we must make the best of every situation. With great loss comes perseverance. Last year was the loss of her precious grandmother, her cherished friend who was also an educator, and a treasured student.

Varas-Caraballo is a highly effective Nationally Board Certified educator. She is the recipient of numerous grants which have been instrumental in filling her classroom with items to enhance her student’s educational endeavors and her creative learning projects with them.

She has earned numerous leadership positions at the school and within the community. Presently, she is dedicated to  being the co-chairperson of Robotics and STEAM programs at Spanish Lake.

A devoted wife, mother of three and a dedicated teacher, she has the privilege to help shape the minds of many children. She considers her students to be her own children for the little time the are in her class.

Her goal is to inspire children to be kind-hearted and to think outside-of-the-box in order to change the world in a positive way.

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