Riverside County Teacher of the Year
Canyon Lake Middle School
Lake Elsinore Unified School District
When Veronica Mondragon was a child, her father bragged to other family members that his daughter would grow up to be a teacher and that he would be “the happiest dad alive” when his daughter had her own classroom. After more than a decade of teaching at Canyon Lake Middle School, Veronica continues to encourage other young minds as an AVID teacher whose compassion-based projects help students learn to think outside their immediate middle school world. When teaching geography, she doesn’t just want students to study places in the world, but encourages them to put a face and emotion to the actual geographic regions. When asking students to connect with people who are different than themselves, she brings the focus closer to home by building relational bridges with special education students on campus. For Veronica, preparing the whole student to succeed in their world is more than a social studies unit, it’s a life lesson.