A teacher understands that their profession is more than teaching academics; it's teaching social-emotional skills and giving back to the community they are a part of.

On Tuesday morning, Lucy Gutierrez, a prekindergarten teacher at Schallert Elementary, was surprised to learn that she was the Alice Echo-News Journal and Bowden Ford of Alice's Amazing Teacher for March.

"I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to give something back to the community," Gutierrez said. "I thought that being a teacher was the best way to give back to the community because when I came to school (here) teachers helped me out a lot. Being a second language student sitting in my bilingual classes I saw how hard the teachers helped me."

Gutierrez has been a teacher for 10 years. She started her teaching career at Alice Independent School District, moved to Robstown ISD, but came back to Alice ISD to teach at Schallert Elementary; the same campus she attended as a child. 

She was nominated for the Amazing Teacher Award by Vanessa Gonzales, a parent of two children who have been taught by Gutierrez.

"Mrs. G has taught my oldest son in second grade and is now teaching my baby in pre-k. She has so much patience and so much confidence in my children," Gonzales stated. "She's always encouraging them to do their best and is always giving me great advise to help the boys at home. She's a perfect example of an amazing teacher. She shows so much compassion to her students and the love she has for them is beyond amazing."

Gutierrez held back tears as she realized that her parents understand that teaching is more than reading, writing and arithmetics. It takes a special person with uniques qualities to be a teacher.

"Oh my goodness, I think it's the best thing. I feel appreciated. Thank you Vanessa for nominating me cause it feels like somebody cares and that somebody notices how hard (being) a teacher can be," Gutierrez said. "Teachers get a bad reputation, but knowing that this is out there and parents can have a chance to nominate teachers it really feels good especially right now, towards the end of the year."

With approximately two months left in the school year, Gutierrez and her fellow teachers are making sure that their students have reached their goals as they prepare for STARR testing.

AENJ will surprise a teacher each month until May. To nominate a teacher whose made a difference in your child's life, you can click on the nomination Amazing Teacher button on our website at www.alicetx.com.