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Falls Church Educator Named Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award was presented last night to Indiana Obando, an elementary school teacher in the Fairfax County Public School system who came to this country at age 17 unable to speak English.

Obando received a check for $2,000 and a commemorative plaque at the School of Education and Human Services Award Dinner ceremony on the Marymount University campus. The award was presented by the granddaughter of its namesake, Victoria Sanchez, who received her master’s degree from Marymount University.

Obando’s principal praised her for creating partnerships with the parents of her students.

“She firmly believes that parents are the first and foremost important educators in a child’s life,” said Marie Lemmon of Bailey’s Elementary School in Falls Church.

Obando’s experience as an immigrant has inspired her to help others.

“Once we give parents the opportunities to get involved in their child’s education, despite their educational level or socioeconomic status, they are lifelong supporters and cheerleaders for their children,” she said.

Obando received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature in 2000 and her master’s degree in Spanish literature with a concentration in bilingual and multicultural education in 2004 from George Mason University.

The award, established by the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia, is named for de Sanchez, who was a leader in establishing schools, training teachers, and developing textbooks and curricula across Latin America. She also was active in the Reading is Fundamental and Head Start programs in the United States. In 2008, the award was endowed at Marymount University to recognize outstanding Hispanic teachers in the community.

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PHOTO CAPTION - Indiana Obando, left, holds the plaque she received as recipient of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year. She’s pictured with Victoria Sanchez, granddaughter of the award’s namesake. Obando, a teacher at Bailey’s Elementary School in Falls Church, also received a check for $2,000. (Photo by Bob Brown)