Recognition for a Teacher and Spokesperson for the Hispanic Population in the United States


Derly Daza, a graduate of what was then called the bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Languages, traveled to the United States 15 years ago to become an ally of the Spanish-speaking communities in North Carolina.

Six years ago, she created a Spanish program for the Hispanic population, recognizing that many children who speak Spanish do not know how to read or write in that language. She set out to structure a course to develop these two skills. Her expertise and pedagogy were acknowledged by other institutions that decided to implement them in several schools in the area.

She shares her knowledge of Spanish with sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students, providing them with tools to face the significant changes they go through. Additionally, she guides families, most of whom are undocumented and have little understanding of how the U.S. education system works. This often prevents them from effectively supporting their children in their school years, as Professor Derly points out: “In this area, there is a 60% Black population, 20% Hispanic, 10% white, and 10% from other cultures.”

Her mission is to convey practical Spanish language rules, and that’s why Derly emphasizes the importance of the pedagogical strategies she learned at UPN, which prioritize human development and connections with different communities. “It’s not just about teaching how to read and write in Spanish; perhaps anyone who speaks it could do that. It’s about how to teach Spanish, how to connect with students, how to reach them and make them like it, make them want to learn more,” the teacher said.

One noteworthy experience involves organizing an immersion trip for her students in Costa Rica, where she had the opportunity to travel and carry out a series of immersion experiences that enabled learners to communicate in more than one language.

Furthermore, within the scope of her duties, she consistently arranges after-school tutoring sessions to help those who come to this educational space achieve good results in their subjects.

On another note, she points out that all the work she has done with migrants in the United States and her ongoing relationship with those who seek the “American dream” provided her with ample insights to conduct her doctoral thesis at the International Ibero-American University in Mexico. This empathetic document offers strategies for integrating the migrant population into the curriculum of the U.S. education system.

Thanks to her unwavering commitment and dedication, she was recognized as the Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023 at the institution where she works, Jackson Middle School, after being a finalist for this award for several years.