Our 2016-17 Milken EducatorsPhoto 9 of 33
Manuel Zaldivar (CT '16) | First-grade teacher, Smalley Academy | New Britain, CT
Date of Award: October 19, 2016
First-grade teacher Manuel (Manny) Zaldivar is a respected English Language Development (ELD) expert for his school and district. A majority of his students come into his class speaking little or no English, but many are able to leave ELD classes behind after just one year with him. Manny draws on his own experience as an English language learner: He arrived in the U.S. from Honduras at age 18 speaking no English at all. Manny often tells his young students, "This is hard, but you can do it" — the same words his aunt used to motivate him.
Manny's Milken Educator Award assembly has had a big impact on his young students. At the beginning of the year, Manny asked them who wanted to be a teacher when they grew up. Only a few raised their hands. Now so many of them are interested in careers in education that Manny is starting a school club for future teachers.
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