Vanzo recognized as Teacher of the Year finalist |

Vanzo recognized as Teacher of the Year finalist

Cristina Vanzo, far left, accepts a bouquet of flowers and other acknowledgments of her being a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year.
Eliza Noe / Craig Press

In a room full of her robotics students Tuesday, Cristina Vanzo received recognition for being a finalist for Colorado’s Teacher of the Year. Complete with cake and flowers, administrators and fellow teachers gathered in her classroom to celebrate her accomplishments being recognized at the state level.

“I’m feeling really humble and proud of my kids,” Vanzo said after receiving her award. “It feels like such an honor to be a finalist.”

Vanzo was among seven across the state to be a finalist for the award. Her work with robotics students at Craig Middle School made her a solid candidate, and throughout her recognition party, she emphasized that the kids were what mattered most to her.

“(My favorite part about teaching) is definitely building relationships with the kids,” she said. “I get to work with them throughout their careers in robotics at the middle school, and it means everything to me.”

Patricia Gleason, consultant for competitive grants and awards at the Colorado Department of Education, said that Vanzo displays a large passion for teaching and empowering her students’ learning, which made her a great candidate for the Teacher of the Year Award.

“A couple of our recommendations summed it up best when they said she’s an amazing influence and has always had a fantastic attitude while overcoming adversities that she has faced during her career,” Gleason said at the ceremony. “She empowers and urges students here to take risks, to be creative and learn in a problem-based environment.”

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