LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Bertha Delgadillo

Position: Spanish Teacher
School: Woodville-Tompkins Technical Career High School
School District: Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
City, State: Savannah, GA

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Bertha Delgadillo was nominated by her colleague, Christopher LeCount.

"Undocumented immigrants face many ugly stereotypes that underestimate their human value. It's an issue that has become a hot topic in the last couple of years, and children get caught in the middle of it all. Mrs. Delgadillo is an example of one of these children," LeCount said.

Mrs. Delgadillo was brought to the United States by her parents when she was around ten years old. She learned English as a second language, went to college, and received her Master's Degree. She got a job as a Spanish teacher in an inner-city middle school. Then, she worked as a Spanish teacher in a high school for four years, when she was suddenly laid off. Her paperwork took too long to process in Nebraska. Her wages was frozen, and her driver’s license would soon suspended. She sold tamales from home and worked an under-the-table waitressing job at a local restaurant to make ends meet.

"Fortunately, her paperwork went through five weeks later, but five weeks is a long time to leave your class unattended. Guess what she did? Mrs. Delgadillo continued to teach her Spanish class from home. She called and emailed her students. She made all copies of lessons and made sure the long-term substitute got the lessons to the students. Mrs. Delgadillo did it all for free," LeCount said. "She didn't care that she was on the brink of losing her job and possibly getting deported. She only cared that her students learned Spanish. Mrs. Delgadillo wanted to finish what she started, no matter what."

She returned to teaching at the end of the quarter and continued to have one of the highest pass rates in the school. She continued to take students on exciting field trips around the city. They saw flamenco dancers, ate at restaurants that served Latin cuisines, and even took a mission trip to Costa Rica! Before that, it was the Dominican Republic. Even in other countries, Mrs. Delgadillo continued to demonstrate acts of kindness and generosity, and she taught her students to do the same. Bulletin boards in front of her classroom show students working with children from various villages in Costa Rica. They are also shown kayaking, ziplining, and doing other fun activities.

Today, you can see Mrs. Delgadillo demonstrating innovative teaching practices in the area of language acquisition. She is experimenting with the deskless classroom - instead of having the students sit at desks arranged in rows, they sit in chairs arranged in an arc. They are able to hold their books and follow along as she presents at the front of the classroom. Then, they go to the computer lab in the back of the class to complete their work using various language software programs. She speaks Spanish 90% of the time so that the children are able to learn through repetition. They become immersed in the language and are able to apply what they learned to real-life situations, especially when they travel to other countries in the summer. Because this teaching model works so well, Mrs. Delgadillo has been called upon to facilitate many workshops in the district about class management and best practices in the classroom. Mrs. Delgadillo not only makes a positive impact on the lives of her students, but she exemplifies what it is to be a teacher who cares. She is a true LifeChanger.

Comments (33)

Francisco Delgadillo Posted over a year ago

I have never met someone so dedicated, not to mention so passionate about teaching as Bertha. Whether it is helping put together festivals with the international club, staying late to help her students, or making sure all her grades are submitted by sacrificing her weekends, Bertha is ready. She has such an incredible love for teaching that is truly rare to see. I cannot count how many times Bertha has conducted fundraisers to buy particular Spanish books for her class or participate in web contests to earn money for her classroom. Another important thing to mention is that she does all this while having a second job and while being a mother. There is no question that Bertha is truly a life changer.

Maricela Rivera-Garrison Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo has been such an inspiration for me as a Spanish teacher. I have had the opportunity to visit her classroom several times and I leave feeling inspired to become a better teacher. I have learned so much from her and she is always willing to share her ideas and methods. I see the love she has for her students and her job and what a difference she is making. She is such a huge asset for us here in Savannah-Chatham Public Schools because she has opened our eyes in using CI (Comprehensible Input) in our classrooms, which has had a huge impact in my classroom and my teaching style. Mrs. Delgadillo is truly the definition of a life-changer.

Dr. Stascia Hardy Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is an excellent teacher. As her first principal, I had the privilege of hiring her into the teaching profession. I knew immediately that she had the potential to be an excellent teacher. Even though she started in October, she made the class hers. This teaching assignment was in an urban school with severely, economically disadvantaged children. That did not phase Mrs. Delgadillo; she put her heart into the class and the students excelled. The discipline issues for the class were low because of how interesting she made the class. She cared about the students and treated them with respect. I highly recommend her for this honor.

Kahleel Morman Posted over a year ago

Bertha has in fact been a life changer for me personally. She changed my perspective for learning and brought the enthusiasm I didn't know I had. Her role as a teacher has helped put me in position to bigger endeavors in my personal life so when I seen this I had to jump at the opportunity. I can't think of another teacher more deserving than this award or even recognition.

Crystal Carpenter Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo truly is a Life Changer. She has given free workshops to teachers and she even has someone been able to devote time to taking me, another middle school teacher, under her wing. She has guided me with many new strategies and has opened up her classroom to teachers from many schools to be able to see what a comprehensible classroom looks like. She has shown us a prime example of helping students understand language proficiency. As a former teacher of English as a second language and as a current Spanish teacher, these conversation about proficiency with both educators and students are becoming a meaningful reality. Mrs. Delgadillo is enthusiastic and encouraging to both staff and students and she is truly impacting the classroom as a result and changing lives for students and teachers alike.

Cimaya McCreary Posted over a year ago

For the past two years Mrs. Delgadillo has taught me a plethora of Spanish and Latin culture. She implements relavent and relatable topics into her lessons. This creates a fun, warm, and welcoming classroom environment. She transforms a sometimes challenging subject into an understandable one. Also, Mrs. Delgadillo inspires students to look beyond reality. With encouragement and care she helps open our eyes to see the lives of others. She teaches us to empathize with stories, in order to see that we are more similar than different. Her kindness and willingness should definitely be recognized and considered!

Candyce Lanes Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Deladillo has been my Spanish teacher for the past four years. I've been with her since I was in Spanish 1 and now in AP Spanish. She's done everything in her power to teach me Spanish. That's not the only thing she does though, there is never a dull moment in her class. She incorporates videos, music and other activities in her teaching. She teaches in a way that allows you to retain information. These past four years my Spanish has improved due to her teaching skills and she encourages me to practice Spanish outside the classroom. She is by far one of the best teachers I've ever had. She never gives up on her students and she will always do everything in her power to make sure you understand something. Mrs. Delgadillo is a very humble person. She's always real and raw with her students, she guides us in the right direction whether it be inside or outside of the classroom and I think anyone that's ever been in her class can agree that she deserves this award as well as much more. She is amazing.

Meshon Baker Posted over a year ago

For the past two years, Ms. Delgadillo has been my spanish teacher and I've enjoyed every class that is conducted! Throughout the years she has assured that every student gets the individual support to succeed in her class. She takes lessons and turn them into ways that we learn by interpretation, writing, and presentational to help improve our proficiency levels in Spanish. Ms. Delgadillo is also very interactive and energetic with her classes by keeping us engaged in learning. Speaking for myself and others I believe we've all walked into her class and were unfamiliar with the languages, but after taking her classes I've been able to take my spanish skills outside of the classroom and apply it to my everyday life whether it is listening to music, having conversations with my peers, or even communicating with spanish speakers at work. She is such an excellent person who deserves a lot!

Aaliyah Rouse Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Mrs. Delgadillo for about 3 years now, and I absolutely have no words to describe how an amazing teacher is. She finds various ways for her students to learn, in a fun and engaging way. Being a student in her class over the years, increased my vocabulary and verbal communication. She is a very determined teacher who brings positivity to the classroom everyday. Not only did I learn about the Mexican culture, but I also learned about different cultures around the world. Mrs. Delgadillo knows how to teach a class of students made up of different learning abilities. She makes the class very entertaining everyday. She cares about her students progress in the Spanish language, and encourages us to never give up. I can honestly say Mrs. Delgadillo is the best teacher I’ve ever had. She taught me life lessons that I am forever grateful for. I am truly blessed to have her as my teacher.

Cymaria Mack Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is an incredible teacher. She finds a way to make learning fun with new activites. When she puts in input she receives the output. There is never a time when I am bored in class. She also sees potential in us that we don't see and she pulls it out what we didnt know we had in us. She has even made me want to go further into the language. I am so glad I met Mrs. Delgadillo and she truly deserves this award.

Niti Patel Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo has been my Spanish teacher for three years and as each year progresses, she becomes more and more creative with the way she teaches. She wants to make teaching the most fun that she can for her students so that they enjoy learning. She has worked endlessly to help students acquire a knowledge of the language and will even stay after hours to give assistance to those who struggle with any concepts. She is one of the most hard-working teachers I have ever met. I am so fortunate in having the opportunity to have Mrs. Delgadillo as my teacher, as anyone would be. Having her as my teacher gave me a passion to keep learning more Spanish and I am so thankful to her for that. I couldn't see anyone to be more fit than Mrs. Delgadillo to have the LifeChanger of the Year Award. She certainly deserves it.

Aniyah Gardner Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is a wonderful teacher. She is a very hands on teacher and she makes the class fun for everyone. She actually makes it easier to learn Spanish and if a student is struggling, she takes extra time out of her day to help that student catch up. She is always so cheerful and happy and is always concerned about her students. Not only has she made me want to continue studying Spanish as I progress to higher education, but she has taught me no matter what happens in your life, just keep smiling. We don't deserve a teacher like her, but I am thankful to have her. I don't think there's no better person to be nominated for this award. She is the greatest teacher a student could ask for.

Aiyana Stokes Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo has been a great teacher. I have learned so much from her and I appreciate her alot.

Bertha Olmedo Posted over a year ago

First of all, I think Ms. Delgadillo is a really capable teacher, really dedicated to her job and her kids. She has the gift of knowing how to motivate their students, not only as a Spanish teacher but to make of them better people in life. I am so thankful with her because she changed my son’s perspective of life in a good way.

Tawn Foltz Posted over a year ago

I consider myself fortunate to have worked along side Mrs. Delgadillo at the middle school level. As her assistant principal and primary evaluator, I had plenty of opportunities to work with and observe her. Mrs. Delgadillo was an absolutely amazing teacher who brought the Spanish language and culture to life. She established high expectations and consistently upheld them. Her lessons and engaging classroom were frequently used a model for others. As a high school Spanish teacher, she quickly developed a reputation across the district for her creative and highly engaging lessons and for the variety of ways she involved her students in learning and sharing the Spanish language and culture to others in the school and throughout he community. Mrs. Delgadillo is a truly fantastic teacher and deserving of every accolade.

Patrick Wallace Posted over a year ago

My name is Mr. Patrick Wallace and I have the honor of serving as the Program Specialist for World Languages and Global Workforce Initiatives with the Georgia Department of Education. I first met Mrs. Delgadillo when I was brought to her classroom to talk about some innovative ideas she had for her school and for her Spanish classes. From the start, I was impressed by her passion and energy for her work and her desire to seek out additional opportunities for her students and her willingness to "look around the corner". She is a life changer! Not only for her students and those in her community, but for other teachers around our state. We are excited to partner with her to share her ideas and promising practices with other teachers so that they too can be inspired by her and learn from her.

John Newton Posted over a year ago

I first met Bertha back when she was a university undergrad. As the editor of a local bilingual newspaper, I was proud to share with our readers an essay from Bertha explaining the challenges posed by her legal status and her determination to succeed. Even though she had been educated in Georgia schools since the age of 10, Georgia state laws prohibited Bertha from qualifying for in-state tuition. Thus, each semester she was forced to pay three times the amount of her peers. But Bertha was undeterred. Outside the classroom, Bertha started her own private language school at the local YMCA and took a variety of part-time jobs that allowed her to scrape together enough money to stay in school, graduate from college, and earn her Master's degree. Through all her struggles, Bertha never lost her warm smile and her pride in being Latina. Since becoming a high school Spanish teacher, Bertha has been able to share that pride with kids who face their own struggles to succeed in life. Hispanic Heritage Month is a special time when she breathes life into the people and places her students learn about in her classroom. She excites their imagination by sharing Latin America with inner-city students who may have never traveled beyond their own state borders. She challenges these students to look beyond the barriers that dampen their dreams and to reach for goals once thought impossible.

Rhianna Brown Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Deladillo makes a positive impact on all the students that she meets. Either in the classroom with her rigorous studies or outside of the classroom with her many volunteer hours. She's a model teacher who creates life inside her classroom with her many lessons. She exemplifies the meaning of being a great teacher. She is truly a LifeChanger.

Andria Bonaparte Posted over a year ago

I've been blessed to have Mrs.Delgadillo for two years of Spanish & I'll be the first to say she's an amazing teacher. She puts so much into her teaching. She's no ordinary teacher. One of her goals for her students is making sure we actually learn as much Spanish as possible rather than just taking the class for the grade. She goes out her way to make sure learning Spanish is fun while we're actually learning the language. Her teaching methods are so effective, no kid can walk out her classroom & say they didn't learn anything. She's the first teacher I've had that has as much passion & dedication as her when it comes to teaching. She makes me enjoy learning Spanish & now I actually want to be very fluent in Spanish. With her as my teacher, I have a lot of confidence that I can accomplish that goal. I can honestly say she truly deserves this award.

Madison Donaldson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is a wonderful Spanish teacher while keeping our learning experience fresh by incorporating new activities all the time. She uses methods of teaching that make the material easy to grasp and actually keep. She is always encouraging during class and is always engaged in our journey learning Spanish. Since I have had her as a teacher, I have been able to comprehend more Spanish than any other teacher. Her methods of teaching grasp attention and keep us engaged in learning the language.

Bhumy Patel Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is the best Spanish teacher I've ever known. She is always working hard to make sure her students get the best output from her class. She is continuously finding new and creative ways to teach her students Spanish and make the class fun. She speaks Spanish to us most of the time and it really helps with our listening skills. She is a very hardworking, creative, and fun teacher. I have learned so much Spanish since I have been in her class. I'm so glad she is my Spanish teacher. Language is not an easy subject to learn, however Mrs. Delgadillo makes it very fun and easy. Mrs. Delgadillo definitely deserves to be Life Changer of the year.

Jamia Kemp Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is one of my best Spanish teacher she has help me become a wonderful Spanish student that is becoming to understand it very well. She has great ideas on how to make Spanish embedded in our brains, her ideas makes me participate more and makes me learn Spanish even more. She uses activities such as brain brakes, songs, and activities to help us comprehend in Spanish and translate. She also uses great resources such as senor wooly which makes us enjoy the class even more. In conclusion Mrs. Delgadillo is an awesome teacher and I am ready to see her efforts and hardwork get to be paid off with this wonderful life changer award.

Larkyn Tremble Posted over a year ago

I have been with Mrs. Delgadillo since I came to Woodville, and she has helped me so much to learn and fully understand Spanish. I am very thankful for her help. She talks mainly Spanish to us to help us understand, and sometimes when she says something she thinks we don't know then she tells us the English version. This helps me a lot. She is always open to new ideas and she tries to help you when you are not doing something correct. She doesn't bash you, she instead finds easier ways to help you understand the subject. I love Mrs. Delgadillo so much and I appreciate all she has done for me throughout my three years here. I wouldn't ask for any other Spanish teacher.

Mark Linsky Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is one of the most innovative and talented World Languages teachers that I know. As her school system's WL Specialist, I have observed hundreds of teachers during my tenure in this position. Bertha is THE most engaging teachers of a group of wonderful educators. She has become a leader in the local WL community as well as online (with her blog). She spends much of her personal time (and money) learning how to become a more competent educator. Her students look forward to coming to her class and they are actively engaged in their learning. She has also been recognized by her local and regional professional organizations as well!

Anari Pounds Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is by far the most interactive Spanish teacher I have ever had. She takes the time out to work individually with students who can't quite comprehend the concept in which we are learning at the time. Mrs. Delgadillo makes sure that all students are actively participating in learning this foreign language. There has been plenty of times that she has come out of her own pocket to fund the academic activities that she wanted our class to do. Many teachers would never go out of their way for their students like Mrs. Delgadillo does. That is simply because she loves her job as a Spanish Teacher and it really shows in her actions. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have been taught by Mrs. Delgadillo because not only does she teach the language, she teaches the history behind it.

Edgard Torres Posted over a year ago

Mrs. delgadillo is a great teacher and she is very passionate about what she does and what she teaches. she makes sure all of her students are up to part with the language .she does different activities to make sure you understand and can progress. she is an amazing person over all .she definitely deserves this award.

Marla Worrill Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is truly an amazing teacher. She makes learning a language fun and interesting. I have learned so much about the culture and the language that I crave more than ever before. the one down side of the class is that teachers are constantly coming in to observe and use her techniques in her class. She is a teacher to both students and other teachers alike. She learns from others, and others learn from her. I genuinely don't know anyone else more deserving of this award than her.

Sarah Downey Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is a very dedicated and driven Spanish teacher. She is always growing and evolving. She openly shares resources and ideas. She is a leader in a group for emerging new and veteryteachers that are starting and using Comprehensible input. She is positive and open to new methods to help her students become more engaged in the class and enjoy learning Spanish. I’m so lucky to work with Bertha. I can’t think of anyone that is more deserving than Mrs. Delgadillo.

Angela Williams Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is an amazing Spanish teacher in our district. I have had the opportunity to observe her many times, and she has a warm, caring disposition with her students. She uses highly effective teaching methods and has in turn inspired me to follow the same path of high quality language instruction with my own students. She consistently shared valuable resources with other world languages teachers in the district, and is always helpful and caring. Thank you Berta for all that you have done and continue to do, not just for your students, but the district and profession!

Roman Czerwinski Posted over a year ago

A principal called me asking for a recommendation on what was a first year teacher. Having been the department chair of a mid size high school and Mrs Delgadillo’s mentor teacher as she served her student teaching, I picked up the phone and called the principal back. Normally, there are niceties that are expressed, but mostly administrators want to know if the candidates can manage their class and problems. They want to know about competence and attendance. In the case of Ms. Delgadillo, my conversation with this principal started by me telling her, if you don’t hire her, I will. She got the job that evening. Since then Ms. Delgadillo has committed to touching as many children’s lives as she can. She focuses on children that face adversity and helps them be confident. She has invested on these children numerous experiences so that they too are competitive when the go to college and beyond. Yes, she has faced adversity to get where she is. Lots of it. Challenges that are apt for a movie. And yes. You WILL cry. Her anazing impact on her students and peers has been at a price. A personal price. Away from her child, family, and friends. But she gives, and gives. She takes kids on college tours, cultural events, trips out of state for educational purposes and many trips abroad. She wants her students to be well rounded and with similar experiences than those who are fortunate to have seen the world. Ms. Delgadillo belongs to many professional associations where she presents workshops as she is admired by all of us who teach foreign language. She often trains other teachers and blogs about her teaching strategies. She is great at teaching her inner-city students be proficient. She can put any of her students against any other student in the state in a spoken contest and they will show Ms. Delgadillo how much they love her by returning with superior awards. She is a teacher’s teacher. A lifechanger that has already touched the lives of countless students, teachers, and me. Thank you Bertha. You are a role-model to us all.

Amy L Rotker Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Delgadillo is an amazing teacher who deserves this honor. She comes up with innovative ways to work with her students and encourage them in their learning. She give her heart and soul to her students and their academic results show this. I am honored to work with this amazing educator.

Carrie Swiderski Posted over a year ago

Bertha is an amazing teacher. She organized, for the second year, our international festival for our community to experience various world cultures, and this was a huge success. Her students love her, and she gets along very well with coworkers also.

Will Posted over a year ago

Taking the ovrweiev, this post hits the spot