2018 Foreign Language Academy Teacher of the Year

Kindergarten Spanish Immersion Teacher Erica Walton-Nunez


Erica Walton-Nunez
Foreign Language Academy
Kindergarten Spanish Immersion Teacher

What motivated your career in education?
After graduating with a BA in Spanish I began to prepare myself to apply to law school, I had always wanted to become a lawyer. I wanted my work to touch the lives of others and to help them on their life journey. As I worked to complete a paralegal certification I spent many hours away from my young family. I soon came to realize my dream might not be the best fit for my life. So I began to look for a career that would be a good fit for a young family and that would also give me a feeling of helping others and giving back to the community.

KCPS had begun a program to accept teachers who had a degree that was not in Education. I applied, met with a few principals and was hired. I enrolled in Education classes at Rockhurst and began to teach. Little did I know then but I had begun the greatest journey of my life. I had never imagined what a privilege it would be to teach or what joy awaited me as I was able to touch the lives of not only my students but their parents and other family members. It became immediately clear that I was where I was meant to be.

What message about public education do you want to share?
The hard work and extra time spent with the students is worth it. Every extra hour or difficult experience with a student is worth it. Is the work hard, is it demanding, in all honesty yes, it is but on the other side there are the smiles, the look of amazement and wonder on a student’s face when they understand a new concept, it wipes away the memories of difficult days and hard conversations. We must keep in mind that the ultimate goal is the future, a successful future for the student translates to a successful future for us all. We are all interconnected and depend on each other. We stand together or we fall together.