Rodriguez Receives Outstanding Teachers of America Award

LOS ANGELES (March 8, 2016) – The Carlston Family Foundation presented Los Angeles Unified School District mathematics teacher Orlando Rodriguez with the 2015 Outstanding Teachers of America Award at the Los Angeles Board of Education meeting today.
This recognition acknowledges educators who have excelled in the area of teaching, and made a significant contribution to the academic success of their students.

Rodriguez, the only honoree from L.A. Unified, teaches geometry, trigonometry and AP calculus at Libra Academy in Huntington Park. He is one of five finalists selected from more than 100 nominations received from throughout California.

“I do the job not expecting this type of recognition, so it feels really good to be remembered by my former students, whom I continue to keep in contact with and mentor,” said the teacher, who is a graduate of Huntington Park High School. Seven of his former students nominated him. “I didn’t know they were doing anything, so I was surprised.”

Lisa Davis, his principal, also gave the teacher high marks. “Mr. Rodriguez is a product of L.A. Unified. He is an excellent role model for students because he lives in the area and comes from the community in which he teaches. He is an advocate for the students.”

Leaders of L.A. Unified also praised him. “Orlando walks the walk and talks the walk of good teaching,” said School Board President Steve Zimmer. “It is clear that his superior level of commitment to his students and his influence extends well beyond the high school years.”

To be considered for the award, teachers are nominated by former students who attend or have graduated from four-year colleges. Students explain how the teacher mentored him or her, the style of teaching, and what the teacher contributed to his or her academic success.

“I congratulate Mr. Rodriguez for being an outstanding teacher and an outstanding person,” said Superintendent Michelle King. “He believes that his students can achieve great things and he is the quintessential example of the amazing, talented, and dedicated teachers that call the L.A. Unified home.”

Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez, who represents the area in which Libra Academy is located, had this to say: “What excites me about this award by the Carlston Family Foundation is that teachers are nominated by their former students.”
He added, “I am proud that Orlando Rodriguez has received this award because he grew up in Huntington Park and remained in his community to teach and give back to his students and families.”

The Carlston foundation’s Executive Director Timothy Allen explained that once a teacher is nominated, several evaluations take place, including conversations with former students, school colleagues, and classroom evaluations of the teacher.

“I saw a man who loved what he was doing,” Allen said. “There was obvious respect going both ways. His students were engaged for the full hour.”

Each winning teacher receives a $20,000 prize, including $15,000 for personal use, and a $5,000 grant for the school.

How will he spend the school grant?

“I want to help the Math Department,” Rodriguez said. “I will buy graphing calculators.”


Contact: Shannon  Haber (213) 241-6766