University Hill Elementary School Principal Ina Rodriguez-Myer was recently named the 2019 Colorado Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Educational Leader of the Year.
The award recognizes a PK-12 educational leader who has distinguished themselves as an outstanding leader, an advocate for emerging bilingual students and families, and an advocate for bilingualism, biculturalism, and biliteracy.
“It’s such an honor,” Rodriguez-Myer said. “I’m surrounded by great people.”
This is Rodriguez-Myer’s ninth year as principal of University Hill, a dual language school in Boulder. The school brings together both Spanish and English speaking students in a 1:1 ratio in each classroom. The goal is for all students to become bilingual (speaking 2 languages) and biliterate (reading and writing in 2 languages) during their time at the school.
According to CABE president Julie Benmellah, Rodriguez-Myer was chosen for the competitive award because of her inspirational leadership over the past year. She has led her school community on a journey of self-reflection to examine their instructional practices in an effort to address a persistent achievement gap. This year the school expanded its instructional inclusion model to ensure that all students receive 50 percent of their instruction in both languages beginning at kindergarten, which was a big shift in approach.
“We read the latest research, worked with a consultant and had many hard discussions as a staff,” Rodriguez-Myer said of the school’s decision-making process that led to the change. “We made the decision to move in this direction together.”
“Ina was able to do this in a way that maintained a positive climate at the school and larger community and created energy and excitement to take on the difficult new challenges,” said Benmellah.
“I just led the conversations,” Rodriguez-Myer said. “The University Hill staff members are really the people doing the work.”
“Already this year, teachers are praising this change,” Rodriguez-Myer added. “There are still some challenges, but we know we are on the right path.”
Rodriguez-Myer is noted for her tireless advocacy for social justice and speaking up for those whose voices often aren’t heard.
“Her leadership is truly remarkable. Through the difficult work, she keeps the focus on the students, which will have a lasting positive impact on these emerging bilingual scholars,” Benmellah went on to say.
Fellow bilingual educator and BVSD principal Guillermo Medina nominated Rodriguez-Myer for the award.
Rodriguez-Myer will be honored at the 2019 CABE Awards Gala later this month.