Educator of the week

Cynthia Salcido 
Breed Street Elementary School

Los Angeles Unified School
District Favorite Subject: Reading

For the past 32 years, Ms. Cynthia Salcido has been devoted towards enriching and developing the young minds of her students at her beloved school in the community of Boyle Heights. The second oldest of six children, Ms. Salcido and her siblings grew up in the city of Pico Rivera. Her parents were both educators for the Los Angeles Unified School District – her father, a principal, and her mother, a supervisor at a children's center, were her biggest role models . Ms. Salcido credits her passion for reading and teaching to both her parents love for reading and her second grade teacher, Mrs. Koeing’s help with the development of that passion, which she continues to have until this day. "Ms. Koeing had reading and math centers in class that were individualized.” She continues,” We weren't in groups so you could go at your own pace and I remember trying to get to the top color in reading - turquoise. Those centers, along with seeing my parents frequently reading, fostered a love for reading and teaching."

Ms. Salcido attended El Rancho High School during a time when the country was in much conflict due to the war in Vietnam. She recalls moments when she and her fellow classmates would have to go out onto the football field due to incoming bomb threats. She’s also reminded of a time when the community surrounding El Rancho High was very diverse. All experiences that have provided Ms. Salcido with long lasting memories and learning opportunities. After high school, Ms. Salcido was focused on becoming a nurse. However, that dream would soon dissipate as she would come to realize that she could not tolerate the sight of blood. She shares, "It was then that I decided that I wanted to be a librarian. I started classes and then realized that I wanted to be able to interact with children." 

With a new goal of being a teacher set, Ms. Salcido attended California State University of Los Angeles where she would receive her bachelor’s degree and go on to teach at Breed Street Elementary. Although she was never comfortable with math and speaking in front of a group, she was able to overcome these obstacles once she began teaching. Ms. Salcido helps her own students conquer their own hardships by constantly advising them "not to be afraid, and to try your best and never give up."

Today, Ms. Salcido is a proud teacher at Breed Street Elementary teaching grade levels 1-5. As an educator, Ms. Salcido has had the opportunity of seeing her students graduate from her school and eventually return as adults with their children, who she has also had the opportunity to teach. In 2012, Ms. Salcido became involved with Great Minds in STEM™ and the STEM-Up™ initiative, by participating in the K-12 STEM Summer Workshop, a workshop that brings elementary, middle and high school educators from Boyle Heights together for the first time. When asked why she decided to become involved with STEM, Ms. Salcido simply states, "I wanted my students to be aware of all the jobs that would be available to them, and I wanted them to be curious about everything around them. To keep asking questions and look for different ways to solve problems - those are my STEM goals for my students."

Now in her final year with LAUSD, Ms. Salcido has continued to find ways of motivating and inspiring her students towards achieving their upmost potential. One of her most memorable moments throughout her extraordinary teaching career was when the space shuttle Endeavor flew over Los Angeles on its way to the California Science Center. Her students excitement as the shuttle flew over the school was an amazing experience, and she made sure to capture their thoughts through one of their writing assignments. She recalls, "that was the best writing assignment they did. The words they used to describe the shuttle flying over the school were fantastic, and one of my student's writings was even published in a magazine!" During her spare time, Ms. Salcido enjoys doing some reading and scrapbooking.

On behalf of Great Minds in STEM™ and the hundreds of students you have taught and inspired - Thank You, Ms. Salcido!

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