Hayden-Winkelman K-2 teacher Jenna Martinez-Inzunza was recently nominated and awarded a Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Award.
She was nominated by her longtime colleague from HWUSD Pamela Gonzalez. Gonzalez submitted an essay on why Jenna should receive the award.
The nomination essay spoke of Jenna’s love for sharing her Hispanic culture and her commitment to serving her students both at school and within the community. She also maintained a strong and positive attitude as she battled cancer and that attitude and caring spirit was once again evident when the district mourned the loss of long time and much loved HWUSD teacher Kim Byrd to COVID-19.
This award was a bright spot for the community and the district.
Jena grew up in Hayden, in the barrio of San Pedro. She attended school in the Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District and is a proud graduate of Hayden High School in the class of 1982. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, later earning her master’s degree in Education. She chose to return to her hometown and teach at her alumni school. She is now in her 29th year of teaching.
“It is so exciting and rewarding for us to ‘surprise’ each of the four winners at their schools and in front of their students. We look forward to the moment when we get to hand over a $5,000 check and say congratulations and thank you for being such an inspiring teacher,” explained Cathy Higuera Keppel, Event Planner, Chicanos Por La Causa.
The school district received a $2,500 cash award and Jenna was awarded a $5,000 cash award and of course this prestigious award.
“In 1999, Pete Garcia, a former President/CEO of CPLC established the Esperanza Latino Teacher Awards. He understood the importance Latino teachers have on their students and each year CPLC’s Events Team is excited to recognize and celebrate these amazing teachers as this is our favorite event,” said Keppel.
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, CPLC’s Director of Engagement & Partnerships and former mayor of Hayden, said, “There’s a tremendous sense of pride that in the heart of Arizona’s Copper Corridor. Chicanos Por La Causa recognizes Jena Martinez-Inzunza as a 2021 Esperanza Latino Teacher Award honoree. Jena’s story as an educator is one of dedication, courage and overcoming adversity.”