Veronica Ruiz: Teacher of the Year

Veronica Ruiz is named 2024 teacher of the year


Anna Grace Riegle, Editor in Chief

On November 4th, 2022, Veronica Ruiz was named as our teacher of the year!

Born and raised in Chicago, Ruiz graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a Professional License in Secondary Education in History. She is in her eighth year of teaching in Virginia Beach.

Veronica Ruiz teacher of the year. (Photo by: K. Trace)

“There are so many reasons why I teach,” said Ruiz. “I believe everyone can achieve great things and everyone deserves the opportunity to learn. I think teaching is a way to build connections and relationships with students and help them in every way. I teach to share my passion with students and ensure that they know they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.”

Despite Ruiz’s clear passion for teaching, she didn’t initially see herself in this position. Ruiz was always told she was a leader, and she wanted to help others. She began college in pre-med, but didn’t connect with science as much as she did with history.

“I really did not enjoy Science (or Math), but have always loved History,” said Ruiz. “I met with mentors and decided that teaching was truly always my calling and it was the best way to help younger generations become interested in history.”

Ruiz is able to share her passions by teaching both World History 1 and Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow. Despite personally connecting with the coursework, she finds the most value in connecting with her students. 

“I think [my favorite thing about teaching is] the relationships with my students and building those relationships continuously, carrying over even after they leave my classroom is what keeps me in the classroom,” said Ruiz. 

Arguably one of the most impactful electives, Ruiz  teaches Virginia Teachers for tomorrow, a class that prepares students to work in education. Through internships at local schools and other unique learning opportunities, Ruiz encourages her students to find passion in teaching.

“[Teaching] is a fun and rewarding profession,” said Ruiz “It does not feel like a job, however be sure that you want to do it! We need more teachers like you!”

As a selfless profession, teaching does not come without its challenges. 

“I think the biggest challenge I face is balancing work and life in general,” said Ruiz, “separating business and personal life, especially during the pandemic when we were working at home!”

All these challenges become worth it when Ruiz’s students take what they learn outside of the classroom. 

“I want [my students] to see connections outside of my classroom and how history connects us all regardless of where we are in the world,” said Ruiz.

The impact of her teaching goes above and beyond, reaching students across grade levels and lasting well beyond high school. She is incredibly dedicated to her students and her profession; Ruiz is absolutely deserving of this honor.