Educator of the week

Margarita Vargas 
Maple Primary Center

Los Angeles Unified School District
Favorite Subjects: Science & Language Arts

A selfless educator, Ms. Margarita Vargas has spent the past 12 years educating our future generations of STEM professionals. Ms. Vargas, now in her eleventh year at Maple Primary Center in Los Angeles has continued to learn and grow alongside her students. Like many educators, Ms. Vargas never settles, she is constantly in search of new opportunities for her 1st grade students and is eager to find new ways to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering  and Mathematics (STEM) in her classroom.  

Ms. Vargas grew up in East Los Angeles and as a child enjoyed reading books and ice skating. In the third grade, she fell behind in class, which naturally made things like homework even more challenging. She recalls spending time with one of her teachers, Mrs. Jackson, who had a way of identifying and helping her students reach their full potential. Mrs. Jackson always offered to stay after school to help Ms. Vargas, and what surprised her even more was Mrs. Jackson's inclination to share her life with students and their families. Understanding her family's financial situation, Mrs. Jackson offered to drive and host their family on a trip to Big Bear Mountain. Even at the young age of 8, Ms. Vargas knew that those were not typical duties of a third grade teacher. She was inspired by Mrs. Jackson's commitment to not only help her students, but their families as well. In the years that followed, Ms. Vargas was introduced to a special group of teachers who opened her eyes to a future with endless possibilities and who also exuded a real passion for education and student success.

Standing on the shoulders of giants, Ms. Vargas set forth to inspire and motivate a new generation of students. With a strong influence from past teachers, she was convinced that a career in education lay ahead. She states, “ I wanted to help students establish a solid education foundation, ultimately empowering  them to aspire for careers, not just jobs." In pursuit of a teaching career, Ms. Vargas attended East Los Angeles College and later, transferred to California State University, Los Angeles, where she a earned a bachelor’s degree in urban learning and a master’s in elementary science and an administrative services credential.  

In the past two years, Ms. Vargas has become a National Board Certified Teacher and is an active member of the Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC) with the California Teachers Association National Board Resource Center (NBRC) at Stanford, and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). 

Last year, Ms. Vargas participated in Great Minds in STEM's Teachers Summer Workshop where she collaborated with local educators on best practices for implementing STEM in the classroom. 

Ms. Vargas believes that it is never too early to introduce STEM to her students, the Maple Primary Center campus and the surrounding community. In the coming year, Ms. Vargas is eagerly planning to host the very first STEM night on campus where parents will have the opportunity to use newly donated STEM kits.

In her spare time, Ms. Vargas enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

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