Copperas Cove Junior High School teacher Leonika Carranza knows what to expect when she returns for the new school year. New to the teaching profession last year, Carranza surprised administrators when she not only excelled with the students in her own classes but took the lead when another teacher departed midyear.
Because of her extreme success with her students, Carranza was named CCJHS Rookie Teacher of the Year, said Principal Amanda Crawley.
“What sets Ms. Carranza apart from many other new teachers is her willingness to accept feedback and implement that feedback into her classroom. She is never threatened by suggestions but welcomes them,” Crawley said. “When another teacher left at the end of the first semester, Ms. Carranza stepped up and began to plan the instruction for both her class and the other teacher’s class so that the substitute could implement the science lessons. Because of her can-do attitude, the students never missed a beat due to the loss of their teacher.”
Carranza has a degree in biology and shares her love of science with the students.
“She takes her job very seriously and knows how important her work is to the students. She puts in the time and the hours to make her classroom a quality learning environment for students,” Crawley said. “She makes her classroom a structured environment that positively impacts students with disabilities and works to adapt her instruction to meet their individual needs.”
Carranza delivers the science content through hands-on science labs and takes the students outside to tackle science experiments in the environment of life.
She has excellent classroom management skills, said Assistant Principal Robert Turner.
“When you walk into Ms. Carranza’s classroom, all procedures and routines are clear and efficient. The classroom is safe and organized to support the science learning objectives,” Turner said. “Ms. Carranza implements the campus Positive Behavior Management System by passing out BullPup Bucks to reinforce desired behavior of her students.
“She sees them doing something right and builds upon that success rather than focusing on what the student may have done wrong.”