CWU News

Seattle Teacher Honored by Alma Mater for Dedication to Community and Equity

Seattle Public Schools educator Jessica Rodriguez is esteemed for her devotion to community, teaching, and equity. Recognizing that commitment, Central Washington University has awarded its Dyveke Maurer Memorial Graduate Fellowship in Education to Rodriguez, a kindergarten teacher at Dunlap Elementary School in south Seattle.

“I love teaching in this community because it is so diverse and close-knit,” she said. “Working here has taught me a lot about other cultures, which has made me a better person and a better teacher as well.”

Jessica RodriguezRodriguez was hired by the district after graduating from CWU with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and receiving her teaching certification in 2018. She is now enrolled in the university’s Master Teacher (M.Ed.) program, with help from the $2,500 competitive award through the Dyveke Maurer Fellowship, pursuing her bilingual endorsement.  

The fellowship is named in honor of Maurer, who was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and immigrated to the United States with her family, settling in Ephrata, Wash. She graduated in 1926 from what was then the Washington State Normal School. Dyveke Maurer awards are earmarked for women admitted into CWU’s teacher education or M.Ed. programs.  

Rodriguez also exhibits zeal for multicultural education and social justice, which prompted her to found Dunlap Elementary’s Racial Equity Team. It’s part of the Seattle Public Schools Racial Equity Team’s effort to eliminate racial disproportionality in graduation and discipline rates.

“My passion for teaching and deep love of my school community pushed me to take on this leadership role,” Rodriguez explained. “I hope to brighten the future for society through education. One of my major career goals is to combat the cycle of poverty. I believe the best way to do so is through education and compassion.”

Eric Hougan, a professor in the CWU Department of Curriculum, Supervision, & Educational Leadership, said, “Hands down, the best part of directing Central’s Master Teacher program is working with graduate students like Jessica Rodriguez.”