‘Our Uncommon Heroes’ Spotlight: Lizandra Ayala and Jennifer House

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May 2-6 is Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week! 

Like their counterparts across the nation, Dallas ISD teachers and staff are uncommon heroes as they play an essential role in student success. During Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, we invite the community to join us in recognizing the dedicated educators and staff members who wholeheartedly commit themselves to helping all students succeed.

Each day this week, we will recognize a Dallas ISD teacher and staff member in the district. 

Today, we salute Lizandra Ayala, a teacher at William Anderson Elementary, and Jennifer House, a librarian at Stevens Park Elementary.

Lizandra Ayala, teacher at William Anderson Elementary

What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?

For me the best thing about been a teacher is at the end of the year when I look at how much my students have grown. At the beginning of fourth-grade, students seem so tiny and scared. By the end of the year they have grown, not only in size, but they can read, write, and know things that they didn’t at the end of third-grade. We did that together: parents, teachers, and students. That is a fantastic feeling!

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is…

What I love about teaching in Dallas iSD is the sense of community and family. Every time I attend a training, I expand my learning community by creating relationships with other teachers as we exchange ideas and resources. My family lives far away from Dallas (Puerto Rico), but I have found a family in my school and my community. Every year I have students from the same families, and that continuity gives me a a sense of belonging. Students know me before coming to my classroom because I was their sibling’s teacher. Pretty soon I’ll be teaching their kids, too! (Scary, I know! ha ha)

One way you hope to impact students is….

I hope to ignite a love for reading and learning, a passion for excellence. Once upon a time, Ms. Perez did that for me in fourth-grade. One of my favorite books is “Thank you, Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco. If I can make a difference in one student’s life and future like Mr. Falker did, then it’ll all be worth it.

Jennifer House, librarian at Stevens Park Elementary

What has been your favorite moment as a Librarian? 

I have had many great moments, but the beginning of each year is always my favorite moment. Prekindergarten students come to me for the very first time and every year I read to them “The Kissing Hand” book. At the end of the book, we learn how to do the “I love you” sign in sign language. After that initial moment, every day when they walk by my library, they wave the I love you sign to me- it becomes our instant connection. It’s a simple gesture but it’s a connection I get with them from the very beginning that lasts very long. I sometimes have students in third grade that will still wave the sign at me when they pass my door. It’s something I enjoy watching every year. The library become a place for them to feel safe, and that’s exactly what I want them to understand from the beginning.

The best thing about being a Librarian in Dallas ISD is…

I’ve only ever worked for Dallas ISD, however, I do know that our Librarian Director Gay Patrick is fantastic. She offers so much support and is on the front lines fighting for us. That allows us to do our job well and to love our jobs. I feel that this is my second home and when you get to meet other librarians and attend seminars and such, it’s easy to love your job. I feel refreshed when I learn from others and we have that opportunity here in the district.

One way you hope to make a difference in Dallas ISD is…

I want for all of my students to enjoy reading. I want it to be such a huge part of their lives whether it be reading on a Kindle or a real book, I want reading to be a pleasure in their lives. If you know how to read well, you can do anything. The richest men in the world read everyday and I want them to understand that reading can add so much to their lives.

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