LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's National Teacher Appreciation Week. We're taking time to recognize amazing Clark County School District educators going above and beyond.
13 Action News anchor Dave Courvoisier introduces a teacher who says she can only hope to give her students as much as they give her everyday.
BLESSING TO HAVE
"It's a blessing to have Mrs. Nava on our staff," says Principal Annemarie Stover of Paradise Professional Development School.
You know you're doing something right when your boss speaks so highly of you.
"I think everyone on staff aspires to be like her," says Stover.
She can't say enough about her Primary Autism Teacher, Mrs. Ella Nava.
"She understood that you've got to be able to provide that social, emotional, learning support, the behavioral support on top of the academic piece," says Stover.
Mrs. Nava majored in psychology and tried hospital and office work. But she says she never looked back when she turned to teaching 22 years ago.
"I fell in love with children with special needs," says Nava.
She has been teaching at Paradise for 5 years now and says she couldn't do it without the parents.
"Part of my teaching philosophy is to connect with the parents because they're the first teacher. I'm not their first teacher. They know their children more than I do," says Nava.
But she's clearly making a positive impact. Like the time she got one of her kids to start singing. It may not seem like much, but it brought that child's mom to tears.
"She was crying. I was crying. And I'm like see, those little, little things... In my classroom, like any tiny achievement from my class, from my students, we always celebrate it," says Nava.
Of course, like anyone else, she has her tough days.
"Especially during pandemic. That's the only thing I regret, because I really wanted to go into the monitor and tell them, Hey, we need to learn. We need to learn," says Nava.
Mrs. Nava was a finalist last year in the Heart of Education Awards and a winner for 2022. She gives each of her kids everything she's got and it's clear from watching her work.
"We don't say that they're limited because they have special needs. They have a big capacity. They have a big ability," says Nava.
100% EVERY DAY
Mrs. Nava says she'd be letting her students down if she wasn't giving them 100-percent every day.
"They're pure souls. They will know if you're genuinely nice to them or not because they will feel you. So that's why building a relationship with them is really important," says Nava.
These students mean everything to Mrs. Nava, who says she wouldn't trade her job for the world.
"It's a calling. It's not that you're going to be rich with this profession, but you're going to be rich with what's going to happen with your students," says Nava.