RIMROCK – Orderly and fun – at the same time. That’s how Beaver Creek Principal Katrina Sacco describes Wendy Quintana’s third grade classroom.
“I think I am just a big kid at heart and try to teach in a way that reaches out to these students, trying to be as relatable as I can,” says Quintana, in her 19th year teaching, but her third at Beaver Creek – and her third in Arizona.
Quintana was “around eight or nine” when her mother bought her a chalkboard for her bedroom. That’s when Quintana knew she wanted to become a teacher.
“I would go home after school, gather up the neighborhood kids, and recreate the lessons that I saw my teacher do that day – well, not exactly,” Quintana says. “I made tests and everything.”
At Beaver Creek, Sacco says that her third grade teacher is a “master at helping kids excel in ways they never thought they could.”
“She is intensely focused on growth, and she knows her kids can always do more,” Sacco says. “She pushes them to the next level, at the same time she manages to cultivate strong relationships with her students. She is an asset to the Beaver Creek community in every possible sense.”
Quintana’s favorite part of teaching is “seeing the lightbulbs come on when a student has that aha moment … makes me happy.”
Verde Valley Newspapers: Tell us about your teaching style.
Wendy Quintana: “They know I can be pretty strict, but can also make learning so fun that they don’t feel like they’re at school. We do a lot of collaborative work and I encourage all students to express themselves and feel comfortable doing so. The more different ways to find the answer, the better.”
VVN: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Quintana: Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
VVN: What do you like least about teaching?
Quintana: Well, if I were to ask my own children, they would say that even at home, the teacher in me is always there, much to their dismay. They don’t get away with any sloppy homework and flashcards are everywhere.”
VVN: What you would do if you weren’t a teacher?
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, Quintana said she would be a professional beach enthusiast.
“Is that a profession?”
VVN: Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.
Quintana: “I do not have a green thumb whatsoever and have recently renamed my garden the Garden of Weeden.”
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42