Mrs. Saldarriaga, or Mrs. S as her students call her, is a history teacher here at North Gwinnett High School. Mrs. S teaches AP United States History and World History. However, more than the subjects that she teaches, the composition of her experiences and beliefs has molded her into the exceptional teacher that she has become.
Mrs. S was born in Atlanta and grew up just down the road from North Gwinnett High School in Duluth. She attended Georgia Tech, where she received some of the valuable experience mentioned before. At Georgia Tech, Mrs. S studied chemical engineering for three years before she deciding to take a quarter off from her classes, as she was not enjoying engineering as much as she believed she would. After taking several history classes and encouragement from Dr. Foster, Mrs. S changed her degree to History, Technology, and Society and went on to study teaching to become a teacher at North Gwinnett High School.
At North Gwinnett, Mrs. S’s style of teaching is among the best. Not only does she teach the content that will be required for the test, but she also encourages her students to see the world through different perspectives and form new connections across curriculum and time. Even greater than this, Mrs. S is interested in her students as people, not just as test takers, and she believes this focus on students as people is what makes North Gwinnett High School so exceptional. She believes that students learn the most through struggle, but she helps many students, including me, learn from and overcome this struggle. I see these virtues present in her classroom every day. She is truly invested in the lives of her students outside of her classroom; every day before class she will help you with math and chemistry or simply have a conversation with you. She reinforces what we learned outside of class the night before and will agonize over each of our essays in order to help us become better. Katie Saldarriaga, through her discipline and understanding, is truly the prime example of what every teacher should strive to be.