PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville teacher Lisa Rodriguez was shocked on Tuesday when the Pleasantville Union Free School District named her as its 2011-12 Teacher of the Year.
“Wow, that’s all I can say,” Rodriguez said. “I feel today probably is one of the most honored events of my life, and I am shocked and stunned because I never worked for any other reason then because I want to make sure that children are happy when they’re in school and that they’re learning.”
Rodriguez showed up at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night expecting to discuss initiatives she has taken in her kindergarten class. By the end of the night, everyone else had done that for her.
“One of the goals of the board is we want our students and our teachers to love learning and to want to continue learning, and I can’t think of anybody who exemplifies that better than Lisa,” said board President Lois Winkler. “She’s truly an inspiration. She obviously loves what she does and that love is contagious."
The honors extended outside the district for Rodriguez, a Yorktown resident who is in her eighth year with the district. Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer showed up to announce that today would Lisa Rodriguez Day in the village.
“I have a cerificate to deliver to you, and it’s full of whereases and heretofores, the kind of tortured prose governments use when they’re happy,” Scherer said. “Thank you for planting your flag here. I’m here to secure a commitment you’ll retire from here.”
County Legislator Michael Smith (R-Greenburgh) appeared on behalf of Westchester County, which also honored Rodriguez with her own day. A proclamation from the Board of Legislators and County Executive Rob Astorino named April 24 Lisa Rodriguez Day.
“You are allowed to commit minor traffic offenses, you can rob small banks, and you can vote multiple times,” Smith joked.
Smith also reflected on his six years on the Valhalla school board. While he admits there are times he does not miss his tenure on the board, a night like Tuesday was not one of them.
“This is why you do what you do. And this is why you put up with the abuse and headaches, when you see what is being done for our children,” Smith said. “When we get old, we don’t remember [what] we were taught in school. We remember the teachers that had an impact on us. I assure you, many years from now, people will remember your name and remember the kinds of things you did for them.”