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For the third year, Salinas City Elementary School District will be showcasing a 3-part series showcasing our Employee Award Winners from 2017-18 school year.

We asked our award winners questions to describe what their award means to them and what advice would they give to new educators beginning their journey.

For our first interview of the year, we spoke with Lead Learner Award Winner, Esabel Cervantes.

What’s your title and school location?

Principal, El Gabilan Elementary School

How many years of teaching/experience?

16 years

What brought you to Salinas City Elementary School District?

I was a student at Boronda Elementary and had many wonderful childhood experiences there. These experiences helped to shape the learner, teacher and leader that I am today so I wanted to give back to the district and the greater community.

What keeps you motivated and inspired on a daily basis?

I am inspired daily knowing that I have an opportunity to positively impact the life of a child. I am motivated each day when I see the children entering the school with smiles on their faces, when my hard-working staff share their wins, and when our parents validate our team’s hard work by sharing positive comments.

What does your award mean to you?

This recognition reassures me that what we do, what I do, really matters. It also demonstrates that, at El Gabilan, we are working as a team toward our shared vision and that we are helping our students SOAR. I am humbled to be considered the “Lead Learner” because I work with so many great leaders, many whom have contributed to my leadership style; by modeling, providing feedback, and celebrating wins with me. 

What is the most gratifying thing about your job?

One of the most gratifying things about being a Principal is watching a child transform into a student with guidance and care from our staff. Another is getting to know and connecting with the children. I especially love that sometimes, when I have to be the substitute in a class, I walk in and they cheer or get excited because I will be the sub, that makes my teacher heart happy.   

Any advice for new educators?

The future is being shaped in your classroom every single day and with each single experience.  Each day you have a new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the little hearts and minds in your care.