Outstanding Teacher of the Year

Michelle Suarez

Michelle Suarez

Sciences; Diego Rivera Learning Complex; Los Angeles Unified School District

Michelle Suarez has dedicated nine years to teaching science at the Communication and Technology School at the Diego Rivera Learning Complex in South Central Los Angeles. Her academic journey includes earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pitzer College, followed by a master’s degree in School Leadership from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. In recognition of her commitment to education and social justice, she was selected as a Hollyhock Fellow at Stanford University in 2019 and received the Teacher for Social Justice Award that same year.  When asked about her reason for teaching, Michelle says that “my reason for teaching has shifted throughout the years, mostly because I have been shaped by each and every moment of it. The beautiful, the heart-breaking, and everything in between. I am grateful to have had a part in facilitating classroom communities built on cultures of respect, dignity, and trust. Providing culturally relevant, trauma-informed science instruction that generates excitement, wonder, and supports students in feeling connected and empowered is important to me. Creating a space where students feel they can be their full authentic selves and cultivate their autonomy, be accountable to themselves and each other, and find their superpower is important to me. When students express being seen, heard, honored, respected, celebrated, loved, and cared for, I know I am doing my job.”

Carlston Family Foundation is now Above & Beyond Teaching