Two PUHSD Teachers Honored By White House

Posted by Community Relations Department on 9/12/2012

Maryvale English teacher Selina Alonzo was honored as “Champions of Change,” August 31 at the White House, and received a Commitment to Excellence Award from President Barack Obama’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.


Alonzo and Guadalupe Meza of South Mountain were among ten educators selected, honoring those who are setting a strong example in education and strengthening the nation by teaching Latino students.


The White House Champions of Change program highlights individuals, businesses or organizations that are improving their communities by “out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.”


The Commission and the Office of Public Engagement hosted an event at the White House to honor those who are “Winning the Future,” empowering and inspiring other members of their respective communities.  They   participated in panel discussions about their work with the Department of Education and White House officials, and had the opportunity to tour the White House.

Alonzo has been teaching English for eight years. She was named the 2009 Phoenix Union High School District Classroom Teacher of the Year, and in 2010, she was a Chicanos Por La Causa and SRP Esperanza Award winner, honoring Latino teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds, play an active role in the school, and demonstrate a true commitment to the community.    A graduate of Carl Hayden High School who benefitted from the Hispanic Mother-Daughter program,   Alonzo earned her teaching degree and returned to the community where she grew up.     As a community member, Ms. Alonzo represents urban families by serving on the Board of Directors for The Neighborhood Center, through Neighborhood Ministries.  She is committed to working for justice by living, teaching, serving and fellowshipping in the same Phoenix community in which she was raised.


“In my classroom, I had to figure out how to love my students into learning.  My students allow me to educate their minds if I first taught their hearts.  Love changes people, it moves them and it inspires them. We see the empowerment education brings.  My students do all the work.  They are the real champions of change,” Alonzo said.