White House Honors Henry K-8 Teacher

Long Beach Unified School District teacher Sylvia Padilla was among 10 educators honored last week by the White House and the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Padilla, a bilingual teacher for the past 20 years, teaches fourth grade in the two-way bilingual immersion program at Patrick Henry  K-8 School.

The teacher travelled to Washington, D.C. where she was honored for inspiring students to excel, and for promoting the teaching profession by setting a strong example in the classroom.

“It was one of those things I’ll never forget – to be around so many people who are making a difference,” Padilla said of the D.C. trip.  “Going to the White House was tremendous, and it was great to meet all these teachers and to know that I am among them.  I cannot take all the credit, though.  I credit the school and the people I work with.”

The White House honored educators who have focused on closing achievement gaps for their students – many of whom are Latino and learning English as a second language.  The honorees were dubbed “Champions of Change.”

Padilla is accustomed to high honors.  She was named Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year and California Association of Bilingual Education Teacher of the Year for collaborating at the school, district and state levels to improve instruction, implementation and assessment of state standards in English and Spanish.

The White House Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative to honor Americans who are doing great work in their communities.

Sylvia Padilla