TOTY Spotlight: Amanda Hurtado

Amanda Hurtado was named Teacher of the Year at Risley Middle School. She has taught the Communication Academic Behavior Social Skills (CABS) Special Program for kindergarten through eighth grades for the past 10 years. Here are some awesome things you should know.


Family: I have been happily married for two years to my husband, David. Together, we have a son, Henry. Henry is now five months old, and is my literal “sonshine”. His smile brightens my day! 

Who is your role model? My role model is my grandmother, Honey.  Throughout my life she was the epitome of love, and grace. I strive to be more like her in my everyday life. She loved telling jokes. Everytime we saw her she would have a new one to share.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of the lines, just how she would light up while sharing. She’s my reminder that others will always remember how you make them feel. 

What book has most influenced you? The Magic School Bus is one of my favorite book series. Mrs. Frizzle is an inspiration. Her teaching is very hands-on, and action packed with high energy. Her kids learn through hands-on experience in a welcoming environment, and that is something I feel passionate about. Plus, she has great style! I hope to be like Mrs. Frizzle when I grow up. 

What is your greatest teaching memory? When I was teaching for the CABS program in elementary school, I would work with my students during recess to learn how to play hide-and-seek. It was hard work for them, and me, but fun. They were learning to play a game that they could play with their peers for years to come. Then it happened. The moment we had all been hoping for. My students initiated, and played hide-and-seek without support! Without any time passing, peers from their general education classes joined in. It was one of  the most magical moments I have witnessed.   

What is your favorite quote or personal motto? “Just livin’ the dream” has been a personal motto for several years. I’ve used it so much that one of my paraprofessionals gifted me with a custom shirt with the phrase on the front. 
What is a fact about you that most people don't know? My older brother and I are six years apart, and both born on Halloween. 

Any hidden talents or hobbies? I enjoy growing plants that have been given to me as clippings, and having a veggie garden. I got my green thumb from both of my grandmothers. I also love to travel. Tropical places with a beach, and historical sites are my favorite places to visit.