Rudder Middle School math teacher named KSAT 12′s ‘Educator of the Month’

Heather Ruiz teaches 7th grade

SAN ANTONIO – Every month, KSAT recognizes a local educator with the KSAT Educator of the Month Award.

KSAT often receives a significant amount of nominations. The team who overlooks those nominations said the person who nominated Rudder Middle School seventh grade math teacher Heather Ruiz wrote a really nice recommendation for her.

That person included in their nomination for Heather Ruiz that she is a “superhero” and that she is constantly finding new and unique ways to enrich the lives of her students.

Ruiz was selected as KSAT’s Educator of the Month for the month of November.

“It’s amazing because on the day to day, just getting to work with the kids is enough,” said Ruiz. “And, then to know that somebody took time to acknowledge me, you know, all the little things that add up is amazing.”

Ruiz’s students at Rudder Middle school told our KSAT crews that they were not surprised that their teacher won because she is so deserving of this honor and recognition.

“I’m very excited,” said seventh grader Carter Larkins. “She is very engaging. She is always helping. She goes the extra mile to make sure that we’re doing good in her class and being an accelerated pre-algebra student, it’s hard to understand some of the things that we’re being taught. So, the fact that she helps us and keeps us engaged, it helps a lot.”

“It’s really fun,” said seventh grader Bailey Swanson. “She helps us understand work that we’re having trouble with.”

While this is Heather Ruiz’s second year at Rudder Middle School, she has been with Northside ISD for more than 20 years and her mission, making learning interesting and fun for her seventh graders.

“The middle schoolers are my people because they are so much fun,” said Ruiz. “They’re willing to engage in those fun activities we use at the elementary level, but at the same time, they’re ready to learn and so I can see them grow as people.”

Ruiz said her class can be fun, especially when her students get to be in teams and “talk their math out.”

“Getting them to actually talk it out and hear from their peers really works wonders,” said Ruiz. “And, we use a lot of manipulatives that you would use in real life, things to help them connect to what we’re learning because that can be kind of abstract for the kiddos.”

She does this all this while learning “Spanish-specifically for educators” and Ruiz is also taking classes to learn Pashto too, all so she can communicate with her students’ parents.

Ruiz’s daughter, Paigee, was invited by the Rudder Middle School staff to join them in surprising Heather Ruiz as KSAT’s Educator of the Month.

“I don’t know how she does it,” said Paigee Ruiz. “She has so many things on her plate, like she has all four of us and then she has school and then she has all the other things that she does because we’re all in sports. So, she takes us to soccer practices and my little sister does basketball too.”

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.