Two AFT members to enter Teachers Hall of Fame

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Teachers hall of fame Dr. Rebecca Palacios (left) and Marguerite Izzo were inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

Two AFT members will be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in June. The inductees are Rebecca Palacios, a retired teacher from the Corpus Christi Independent School District, and Marguerite Izzo, a fifth-grade teacher in the Malverne (N.Y.) Union Free School District.

"Rebecca Palacios' intelligence and passion as an educator and activist makes her a perfect choice for the National Teachers Hall of Fame—the first Latina to join this select group," AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "There is no mission more important than preparing children to succeed in school, career and life, and few educators have contributed more to that mission on a local, state and national level than Dr. Palacios.

"In her long and storied career, Dr. Palacios has compiled an impressive list of achievements both in and outside the classroom. She is a pioneer in the field of dual language learning in prekindergarten, devoting her life to ensuring that our youngest children from households where English is not the primary language have mastered essential concepts and skills. She achieved National Board Certification as a highly accomplished teacher, served as vice chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and made multiple appearances as an educational expert before the Texas Legislature, the U.S. Congress and international education forums. As a longtime Texas AFT member, she has been a tireless advocate for giving teachers a greater voice in the workplace."

Marguerite Izzo, Weingarten says, makes a difference every day in the lives of her students and her community. "As one of her students says, 'She wants us to be on top and aim high in the world when we grow up.' The passion and enthusiasm Marguerite brings to her job affects everyone around her, from students to teachers to parents. She never hesitates to take time to help a child or a colleague.

"A former New York State Teacher of the Year, she spends hours mentoring other teachers and strengthening our profession. A strong advocate for public education and an active member of the New York State United Teachers, she has worked to help bring the voice of educators to policymakers in Albany and Washington."

The entire AFT family salutes Rebecca Palacios, Marguerite Izzo and the three other inductees who make up the National Teachers Hall of Fame Class of 2014, and we congratulate these outstanding educators on this appropriate and well-deserved honor, Weingarten says.

[AFT press release]

May 2, 2014