Joania Torres

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher - Math & Science Gifted Program

School: Pinecrest Elementary School

School District: Miami-Dade County Public Schools

City, State: Pinecrest , Florida

About the Nominee: Joania Torres was nominated by her twin sister, Joane Torres. Joania Torres has been an educator for over 20 years in the Miami, FL area. Ms. Torres is a LifeChanger because of her tremendous work ethic, her passion to help children succeed and, most importantly, her ability to help them become independent and responsible young adults. Her leadership skills as an educator are undoubtedly remarkable. She has a true desire to help others and give them the opportunity to grow and succeed. Additionally, Ms. Torres has an immense sense of compassion for others and truly loves being a role model and taking on leadership roles.

In 2007, Ms. Torres won the "Rookie Teacher of the Year" award, which led to other awards and opportunities. In 2009, Ms. Torres won the "Teacher of the Year" award in the Miami-Dade district. She has been consistently recognized for her collaborations within the county and for her passionate teaching abilities. In 2011, Ms. Torres was asked to assist the State of Florida in designing/writing Common Core questions. This was an opportunity extended to Ms. Torres through a grant offered by FSU. Ms. Torres prevailed in writing questions for the state Common Core program, which is successfully in place today. She continues to assist the district by providing Math Skills seminars to local Miami-Dade district teachers. Ms. Torres is well known in her district because of her efforts and consistent ability to help others.

Ms. Torres has also designed many successful teaching programs and protocols throughout her career. She designed and implemented her own teaching protocol called Math Maintenance Program that has helped her students become tremendously successful throughout the years. Ms. Torres believes that if students repeatedly practice the same skill, they will make dramatic progress. She is also recognized because of her distinctive way of teaching. On many occasions, one can find her dressed up as the brilliant Albert Einstein in an effort to motivate and teach science in a fun way. The students absolutely love it!

Furthermore, she continues to demonstrate true work ethic and passion despite her own personal daily struggles of living with Multiple Sclerosis. Ms. Torres has been battling MS for her entire teaching career, but she has never allowed it to hinder her career or instruction. She is often praised by her students, parents, colleagues and other school employees because of her courageous strength and ability to just keep going, no matter what. She continues to instill these characteristics in her students. Her motto is, "Never give up, be your best, do your best, help others, lead by example and always be a role-model." Ms. Torres will always shine like the star that she is because of her exquisite passion to teach and her ability to overcome any obstacle. She is the perfect example of a LifeChanger!

According to Ms. Torres' twin sister, Joane, she is courageous, smart, diligent, passionate, compassionate, loving, caring, hard working, disciplined, structured, responsible, admirable, self sufficient, funny, witty and simply amazing!