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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 6 months ago

Meet Hinson Middle School's Teacher of the Year

'Teaching fit me like a glove," Ida Sierra Bonilla said.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Ida Sierra Bonilla didn't choose teaching. It chose her.

But it didn't happen right away. The Hinson Middle School math teacher first went to college for business. She worked in the groups and conventions department of a big hotel, spending long hours working — which was great, she recalls. Until she became a mom.

Wanting to be more involved in her sons' lives, she left the hotel industry and evaluated other career options. In the meantime, she volunteered with her oldest son's school PTA, chaperoned field trips, helped with fall festivals and even became the football team mom. After she became a substitute teacher, she took the plunge and decided to pursue teaching, a career she had been familiar with since she was young. Her mom was a teacher, and because of that, Bonilla said she grew up in a classroom.

"Teaching fit me like a glove, I love, just love it," Bonilla said.

It's an amazing feeling to be recognized by peers, she said of the Teacher of the Year nomination. But it is also humbling and brings with it an added sense of responsibility, especially Bonilla said, with new teachers coming into the profession.

"Teachers are so important to our children, our overall society and country," Bonilla said. "Additionally, there are so many dedicated, responsible, inspiring educators, that it's hard to think that one can be recognized over others. I push to be better in my craft because of all of these teachers — my hat goes off to them."

Her favorite thing about her job is the ability and responsibility to impact students in a positive manner, she said; to encourage students to strive for academic and civil excellence. It's the relationships she's able to build with her students and peers that inspires her. 

If she could share one piece of wisdom, it would be to enjoy every learning process in life and be open to new ideas.

"I believe that education, formal or informal, is the opportunity for every student to reach their full potential as human beings," she said.

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