Zoe Padron, Clark Elementary School

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Washington, DC and raised in Boston, MA.

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved to Charlottesville in the summer of 1997 because my husband began teaching at UVA.

What neighborhood do you live in now?
We live in the North Downtown neighborhood of the City, but are thinking of moving to Belmont because we love it there as well.

Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have a husband, Ricardo and a son Santiago who has been in the Charlottesville City Schools since Kindergarten.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated with an AB from the University of Chicago and an MAT from Boston University.

What is your favorite part of classroom teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is the excitement children get when they make connections between ideas and their own lives.  It’s like they have learned there is a new color in the world and they never saw it before.  I love being a part of that.

What is your favorite example of a rewarding experience you’ve had in the field of education?
The biggest reward in teaching is watching the growth that my students make from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  I always have them set a goal at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year we check to see if they made that goal.  Invariably they make it.  That is reward enough.

Why did you choose to teach?
I chose to teach because I did not particularly like school but I loved to learn.  I wanted to find different ways to make school about learning rather than about teaching.

If you had to pick one, what do you think is the single most important issue facing the public schools today?
I think one of the largest issues facing education today has to do with whether or not high stakes testing is really an indicator of student learning and if so whether the learning it assesses is the kind of learning needed in the 21st century given the incredible poverty and disparity our students have when they come into the schools.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I am an incredibly good cook.

What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I love to travel with my family, read and spend time enjoying quiet.  After all, I spend my days with a lot of children!