After 34 “imperfect” years, Szalay was voted UPforEd’s Parent Choice Award for the month of April, an honor also referred to as the Teacher of the Month Award.
The honor comes as Szalay is preparing to move on from teaching in June, much to the disappointment of parents and former students.
“I cried when both our children left kindergarten,” said one parent who nominated Szalay as UPforEd’s Teacher of Month for April. “I knew they experienced the most wonderful entry to school as possible.”
Szalay hails from a proud lineage of native San Diegans, including her husband and children, who all attended the Point Loma Cluster schools.
She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from UC Santa Barbara and later earned a special-education credential.
Szalay first taught special education at Ocean Beach Elementary School and continued work in speech and audiology with students in kindergarten through second grade.
Twelve years into her teaching career, she expanded her credentials and began teaching a traditional kindergarten class at Grant Elementary and, later, Loma Portal Elementary.
Szalay said she enjoyed getting students started on their developmental journey by building confidence and emphasizing effort.
Parent Choice Award winners were recognized during an awards celebration May 30.
To nominate a teacher for the award, visit www.upfored.org and click on “Nominate a Great Teacher.” UPforEd staff, in conjunction with its Educational Advisory Committee, use criteria established by the California Teacher Standards to honor the best of the best.