Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Veronica Spengler is sixth finalist | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Veronica Spengler is sixth finalist

Katie Fagundes
Special to the Sun
From left, Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza; Kyle Mohagen, Kings Beach Elementary School Principal; Veronica Spengler, third-grade teacher at Kings Beach Elementary; and Charlie Riley, Truckee Hometown Sears Store owner, with Spengler's class on April 29.
Courtesy photo |

About the award

Now in its fourth year, the Truckee Hometown-SEARS/Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year program was created in 2011 to recognize the efforts of community teachers across Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village.

If you know a teacher who is making a lasting impact on students’ lives who you would like to thank, please nominate them for this year’s Teacher of the Year. Nominations can be emailed to: truckeetahoteacheroftheyear@gmail.com or dropped off at Truckee Hometown SEARS.

Veronica Spengler, third-grade teacher at Kings Beach Elementary, has been selected as the sixth Teacher of the Year finalist.

Spengler was recognized for her attention to students’ individual needs and her passion for language education.

Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown Sears, presented Spengler with a certificates and award on April 29.

Kings Beach Elementary School Principal Kyle Mohagen was excited to learn of Spengler’s nomination.

“I succeed as a teacher when I see students being independent learners who know how to collaborate with their friends and help their friends become independent, too.”Veronica Spengler

“Mrs. Spengler is an excellent teacher,” said Mohagen. “She takes time to get to know all of her students, builds strong relationships with them, and provides high quality instruction to each student.”

Spengler is originally from Santiago, Chile. She attended Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and majored in Elementary Education. She taught elementary school for three years in Chile.

After moving to the United Stated, she obtained a Nevada Teaching Credential with an ESL endorsement, and more recently received her California Teacher Credential with a Bilingual endorsement.

Spengler has always had a passion for language learning. She feels that learning two languages opens up opportunities for creativity and higher-level thinking.

When she first began teaching in Nevada, she was a part of a team starting a bilingual school in Reno, Mariposa Dual Language Academy.

She went on to teach at two additional Washoe County School District schools before discovering an open position at Kings Beach Elementary.

She had been looking for a two-way immersion program, and Kings Beach Elementary School’s program was a perfect match to her teaching philosophy and passion.

She has found a new home at Kings Beach Elementary and appreciates all the support she receives from a great principal and team.

“I love every single thing about the school; it has been my blessing,” said Spengler.

As a part of the dual language immersion program, Spengler teaches 60 percent of the time in Spanish and 40 percent in English.

She has enjoyed teaching third-graders this year. Spengler’s focus is on her students, and she is thrilled to be teaching at a school that shares her philosophy about language learning and all it can offer students.

She stresses that learning a language goes beyond cognitive abilities, it helps students develop social and emotional abilities as well.

“The experience of learning another language helps you understand others’ struggles,” said Spengler. “Students learn to help one another — they learn empathy, tolerance, acceptance, patience and generosity.”

Spengler’s efforts this year have certainly stood out. Multiple parents and fellow educators have nominated her for teacher of the year, citing her enthusiasm, dedication and passion.

Spengler has jumped right into her new position a Kings Beach. She has lent her organizational skills to multiple school activities and is seen by parents early hours in the morning as well as into the evening.

“Her passion for teaching and these children is apparent,” wrote one parent nominator. “They are all excited about learning, she makes her class fun.”

“I am completely amazed at her attention to each student,” added one colleague. “She greets each student at the beginning of the day, without fail, with a smile and energy in her voice, establishing an environment in which students feel they belong.”

Spengler strives to create a collaborative environment for her students and knows that a dual language program is the perfect place to foster cooperative learning skills.

“I succeed as a teacher when I see students being independent learners who know how to collaborate with their friends and help their friends become independent, too,” said Spengler. “Language learning creates that environment.”

Not only does the dual immersion program foster a collaborative environment, clearly Spengler creates a classroom where all students feel valued, safe to push themselves, and supported in their learning.

“There are characteristics of Veronica Spengler that I appreciate as a fellow educator and as a parent,” wrote one nominator. “What I truly enjoy most about her is her respect for EVERY student EVERY day!”

Spengler is happy to have found a home teaching at Kings Beach Elementary, and the school community is thrilled to have her.

“She has been such an asset to my children’s learning and development,” wrote one parent. “I’m already sad at the prospect of the school year ending.”