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News 2 > Global Teacher Prize - Finalists > 2016 Finalists Global Teacher Prize > Elisa Cruz

Elisa Cruz

Mexico - Colegio Valle de Filadelfia
Elisa Cruz - Mexico
Elisa Cruz - Mexico

Elisa has been working with brain injured children at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for over fifteen years as a volunteer. She was never interested in becoming a teacher, though, until she saw the effect that school was having on her son. She was worried that it would destroy his individuality and love of learning. Therefore, twelve years ago, she borrowed money, sold her car, and opened a preschool with 17 children, including her own. She studied for her teaching degree at home, eventually ranking first in the National Teachers Examination.

Her teaching puts a special emphasis on encouraging respect for others and valuing diversity in culture, art and music. The program starts at age 3 and uses mainly collaborative projects. Not finding any existing teaching materials fit for purpose, she has created her own.

Her school, Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, now covers primary and secondary school students as well. It promotes physical excellence as well as academic achievement. All students play the violin, learn three languages and take part in an annual triathlon.

85% of its graduates get admitted to the two best high schools in the state. Due to its success, five franchises have been opened in Mexico and two are about to start in Costa Rica and Brazil.

Elisa has published many of her education materials online, has presented at international conferences, and is a top instructor at Udemy with over 800 teacher-students from 50 countries. Pearson Education published her twelve textbooks for preschoolers in 2014. A series of books for elementary students is about to follow.

Elisa has won numerous awards, including the ‘Best Educator in Latin America’ ALAS-IDB award in 2015. She was also among the Top 50 of the 2015 Global Teacher Prize.

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