Double EduGator Cari Rodriguez (B.A.E ’96 and M.Ed.’97) has known since she was five years old that education was her calling. Recently, she was recognized for her dedication to teaching and learning with the Broward County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Award.

“I just always loved school, and I just always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “There was no second choice, no backing down — that’s what I knew I wanted to do.”

Now a 22-year veteran in the field, Rodriguez has served in her current role as a literacy coach at Harbordale Elementary School for more than seven years.

“Every day is something different, and I love everything about it,” she said.

Previously a K-3 educator for more than 15 years, Rodriguez knew she wanted to become a literacy coach and utilize her knowledge and experiences to support cadres of teachers.

“I’m the everything coach,” she said… “I just make sure the teachers are teaching and the kids are learning.”

Cari Rodriguez

Cari Rodriguez

Within the classroom, Rodriguez embraces a teaching philosophy of “not everyone is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.” Through this mantra, she aspires to help students discover their “why” and uncover what energizes them about learning.

“[It’s about] just making everybody want to come to school and be excited about something and know that they’re good at something if not everything,” she said.

Rodriguez has spent her entire career teaching in Broward County — where she herself grew up. She shared she is proud to be a part of an exceptional community of educators and hopes to use this award to celebrate their hard work and achievements.

“I want everyone to know that there are so many great teachers doing so many fabulous things,” she said.

Rodriguez intends to continue helping children find their “why”, fostering the success of fellow educators and serving the community that has given her so much.

“It has just been so validating and just an honor,” she said… “I want to live up to the title and make, especially Broward’s teachers, have a better experience and to feel valued and embraced and like we’re doing good work.”