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    Saira Zamarripa

    2024 Substitute Educator of the Year:
    Early Childhood Substitute Teacher
    Arthur Elementary School
    Oklahoma City Public Schools

    To honor the important work of our employees, we recognize outstanding substitute teachers, paraeducators, and support staff through our annual Substitute Educator of the Year program. 

    Ms. Saira Zamarripa is a long-term substitute teacher for Kindergarten at Arthur Elementary School. She holds a bachelor's degree in Pre-Occupational Therapy from Southern Nazarene University. She is the winner of our 2024 Substitute Educator of the Year award in the Early Childhood Substitute Teacher category.

    In this Q&A, Ms. Zamarripa shares about her experiences and offers wisdom to new substitute teachers.

    Why did you become a substitute teacher?

    I became a substitute teacher two years ago after graduating from college. I wanted a consistent job—something that would be fun and flexible because I was pregnant. My mom has been a pre-K assistant for 11 years, so I have been around school settings for quite a while. After being a substitute teacher, I now want to become certified as a full-time teacher.

    What do you like most about being a substitute teacher?

    Building relationships with the students. I love when they tell me stories or they feel comfortable telling me things. It's great getting to know them and watching them grow up. It's very rewarding when I feel like I've been a positive impact on their life. 

    Watch this brief video to learn more about Ms. Zamarripa. 

    What advice would you give to new substitute teachers?

    One of the biggest things is being patient and loving. You don't know what the students are going through at home. It's important that you have listening ears for their problems. Sometimes, they don't have anyone to talk to until they see you.

    What would you tell someone considering working in schools?

    Be flexible. Sometimes the school will move you around during the day given their coverage needs. They might need you in the morning with kindergarten and in the afternoon with an upper grade level. So, just being flexible is very helpful for the school.

    What is the greatest benefit of being a Kelly Education substitute teacher?

    I really like how flexible it is and how you can make your own schedule. I had my son in 2023 and had a lot of appointments to go to. I was able to schedule the day off in advance.

    Kelly Education is also very responsive. If I ever had a problem, I simply send an email and they help. They do an awesome job at informing their employees about any new information.  

    What colleagues say about Ms. Zamarripa.

    "Ms. Zamarripa has developed a great rapport with the students and their parents. Moreover, she has several special needs students in her classroom, to which she ensures modifications are made to best meet their academic, social/emotional, and physical needs.

    This is evident when she changes students' pull-ups or pushes a child in a wheelchair. Also, what sets Ms. Zamarripa apart from most substitutes bis that she also eagerly attends professional development training to further her growth as an educator.

    Her compassion and positive attitude have been valuable to the staff, students, and parents of Arthur Elementary."

    - Monica Green-Griffin, Assistant Principal

    Congratulations, Ms. Zamarripa! 

    "Saira Zamarripa is a true representative of the high-quality educators Kelly Education provides to its partner schools each day," says Nicola Soares, President of Kelly Education. "She operates with high integrity and makes a clear difference in ensuring a successful learning environment exists in the classroom. We are proud to recognize her commitment with this honor.”

    As one of four Substitute Educator of the Year winners, Ms. Zamarripa will receive a $5,000 bonus from Kelly Education, as well as $1,500 donated on her behalf to Arthur Elementary School.


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