Our teacher of the month for November was Mary Barela, a veteran teacher from Preston Middle School, introduced  by her Principal, Kyle Healy.  After being introduced by Dr. Jerry Smith, Healy enthusiastically told us of Barela's special achievements.    
Mary is a long term veteran of the Poudre School District, having taught for 24 years in both elementary and middle schools, at Tavelli and Preston, respectively. As she pointed out in her clear, succinct talk, she feels valued in her work and never doubted that teaching was what she was destined to do.
 She taught elementary students for many years before realizing that she should be teaching middle school students as they progress through those often confusing early adolescent years. This is a teacher who openly loves her students and feels free to tell them so. She is delighted when she sees what she describes as students’ mental light bulbs going on.
In addition to being deeply concerned for her students, Mary is warmly supportive of her colleagues. She has been entrusted with the role of school representative for the Poudre Educational Association, meaning that she is liaison for all of the teachers at Preston Middle School. Mary is a strong advocate for public education and regards the chronic underfunding of education as an obstacle to greater achievement. 
We who interviewed Mary realized immediately that she is a capable, no nonsense teacher who is delighted with her work, an estimation enthusiastically seconded by her colleagues.