It is truly a humbling experience to be accepting this award. This Presidential Award is a testament to the many outstanding mentors, colleagues, and students I have had across the years that have shaped the educator I am today. Receiving this award validates that valuing children’s thinking, allowing them to solve problems in ways that make sense to them, and helping them to persevere through the most challenging problems, makes learning mathematics effective, equitable, and accessible.

Gabriela Cárdenas Los Angeles, CA | K-6, Mathematics, 2016

Gabriela Cárdenas began her teaching career at Para Los Niños Charter School in downtown Los Angeles, where she learned the importance of establishing a democratic learning community that respects the voice of all children and where constructivist teaching promotes conceptual understanding and language development. Gabriela further developed knowledge and skills using formative assessment to support student learning across all academic areas. After seven years, she became a demonstration teacher at UCLA Lab School, the laboratory for the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where she has been teaching in a first and second grade dual language classroom for the past seven years. Gabriela’s focus has been on inquiry, Cognitively Guided Instruction in mathematics, and dual language development. She has shared her practice at several state and national conferences, webinars, and through several contributions in publications. She serves as a mentor to several educators and university students. Gabriela is an avid learner, continuously looking for ways to increase her knowledge of teaching and learning in mathematics and in teaching inquiry. Gabriela earned a B.A. in Mexican-American studies with an emphasis on Latinos in education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a M.Ed. with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction.