Lucy Barraza

Third Grade Teacher

Name: Lucy Barraza


BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from DePaul University, 1997
MAT in Urban Teaching from Columbia College, 2002
English as a new language/Early childhood generalist National Board Certification, 2005
Where were you born and raised? Chicago, IL

Position and start year at IAMS: 3rd grade teacher since 2009

Why are you in education? I come from a long line of educators and, although I resisted, I realized midway through my undergrad that I, too, loved working with children. I remember visiting my father's kindergarten classroom in the old Barry building and feeling the amazing connection between the children and their teacher. I knew then that I wanted to be part of that.

What are your hobbies and interests? I have loved the arts and culture since my experience with Mrs. Pino's Inca clay village project at IAMS. The Curriculum of the Americas in its earliest incarnation planted the seed in me that I hope we now plant in our students. It led me to want to study Latin American culture at DePaul, for example, go on foreign study to Yucatan, Mexico, for a semester, and even join a Mexican folkloric dance group for a year.

What was the last good book you read? Bossypants by Tina Fey

What are the traits you admire most in others? I admire integrity most in others. When someone is able to remain firm in their principles when confronted with adverse conditions, it requires an enormous amount of inner strength which I truly admire.

What profession, other than education, could you also see yourself doing? I could see myself as a graphic artist in my next life. I love to play with color, lettering, and design.

Who has been the largest influence on your life? My children, Diego and Manola, have helped me grow and see the world in ways I never imagined. Ms. Villalpando, my fourth grade teacher who is now one of our reading specialists, influenced me all throughout my academic and professional career with her hands-on teaching style and integration of culture into the curriculum. More importantly, she instilled in me the importance of honoring my love of learning. Gracias, maestra.

Where did you learn Spanish/English? I learned Spanish at home and English once I started preschool. I am a graduate of IAMS, (class of '88!), studied French and Spanish at Lincoln park high school and continued studying Spanish at DePaul. I now learn alongside my students as they become bilingual citizens of the world.

What attracted you to a dual-language program? I was attracted to teaching in a dual-language program at IAMS for many reasons. First, as a graduate of IAMS, I felt compelled to return to my "second-home" and give back to the community which helped to raise me. Also, having taught children in various permutations of bilingual education programs, I felt that teaching at IAMS, an icon of dual language education, would be challenging and exciting. Lastly, I am passionate about bilingualism and the importance of not only maintaining, but enriching the culture of our latino children and I know first hand through personal experience and research study that a dual language program is the best vehicle for achieving that end.