San Joaquin County’s Teacher of the Year found path to teaching through helping the deaf

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MANTECA, Calif. (KTXL) — In San Joaquin County, one instructor has been recognized for her dedication and advocacy not just in this difficult year but for her 19 years of hard work.

“I went to college and I was always interested in sign language as a child,” San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year Rachel Hernandez said.

Hernandez, a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Sierra High School in the Manteca Unified School District, says that while teaching wasn’t her original plan, she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I started researching what I can do with the deaf and I found teaching and I actually didn’t really want to be a teacher so much because I saw my mom be a teacher for my whole life from the back end,” Hernandez told FOX40. “I said, ‘I like it. Why am I being so anti-teaching?’ and so then I decided to go for it and I’ve been on that track ever since.”

The county has also nominated Hernandez for the California Teacher of the Year award. 

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