It is always a wonderful thing when an exceptional educator is recognized for their endeavors. The recognition inspires the rest of us to work harder. I certainly experienced such inspiration when I read the story of Marilyn Barrueta, a Spanish-language teacher from Virginia. This innovative and tireless educator was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2005, after a lengthy and illustrious career that spanned 48 years.
Marilyn was born November 28, 1935. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1957, and completed graduate work at several distinguished institutions, including Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Virginia.
For many years, Marilyn taught Spanish, Advanced Placement Spanish, and Spanish for Native Speakers at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to working at Yorktown High, Marilyn taught English as a second language, math, and social studies at Stratford Junior High School in Virginia. Marilyn also taught summer school sessions for Arlington’s adult education program.
“She challenged me beyond just the classroom,” remembered Marilyn’s former student Julianne Koch, “and when I look back at how much I have grown in the past several years, I know much of it is because of her.”
This most impressive educator was also greatly admired by her peers, and several took the occasion of her induction to express their admiration. “Most impressive to me,” expressed Bill A. Heller, Department Chair of Perry High School, “is Marilyn’s tireless pursuit of knowledge. Through the lens of her experience, she is able to examine and evaluate the most promising new research, techniques and materials, and integrate those new findings with the very best of her vast repertoire of highly effective classroom-tested activities.”
This chalkboard champion passed away on November 4, 2010, in McLean, Virginia. She was 74 years old.