By: Claire Quigle
Happy “Where Do You Work” Wednesday, Hawkeyes! Meet alumna Mary Salazar (BA ‘01 English and licensure in secondary English education).
Salazar is originally from Clinton, Iowa, and now works as the director of Teaching and Learning for the Saydel Community School District in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been teaching here since 2011. Before going to Des Moines, Salazar spent time teaching in Las Vegas, NV, and Independence, MO.
She says she loves her current role because she gets to work across all levels in the district to support teachers and students. As a trained secondary teacher, she says there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to supporting elementary teachers and students. Thanks to her colleagues, Salazar says she is now as comfortable in a kindergarten classroom as she is a 12th grade one.
“Since I work at the district level and oversee all academic programming, my day is guaranteed to be busy but they are never the same which I love,” Salazar says. “When I was in the classroom, my best days were when I saw the light in students' eyes when they mastered a skill or concept and I still get to experience that today! I love working with and supporting our teachers as they strive to help their students learn and grow.”
Salazar is thankful for the time she had at the College of Education because it prepared her to be successful in the classroom and also helped her see the leadership potential she had. She says left university equipped to manage her own high school classroom while ensuring that her students were exposed to content that challenged them and allowed them to see the world beyond what they knew.
“Although you can never be fully prepared and know what to expect that first day in your first classroom, I feel the success I had in the initial years of my career was due in large part to the experiences I had at UI,” Salazar says. “During my time in the College of Education, I was fortunate enough to have so many great professors and advisors who really showed me what compassionate and caring leadership looks like.”
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