#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Lilliana Pedraza


Lilliana Pedraza is a Special Education Teacher at Francisca Alvarez Elementary School in McAllen, TX. She has been teaching for the past 6 years within the Rio Grande Valley. This includes 3 years as a Spanish Dual-Language Teacher in grades 1st- 3rd. As a Spanish Dual- Language Teacher, she provided effective classroom instruction so that learning was maximized for all students including English Language Learners, as well as students with Learning Disabilities. She has utilized International Baccalaureate to help develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring students through highly effective teaching practices. The other 3 years have been as a Self-Contained Special Education Teacher with students in grades 1st through 5th who have Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Hearing Impairments.

Lilliana’s strength and determination stems from growing up with her mother in a single parent home with scarce resources. Her mother did everything within her power to instill strong beliefs and values so that Lilliana could have a much better way of life. Lilliana received her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in Special Education from the University of Texas- Pan American in 2009. She graduated with her Master’s in Education Administration from Lamar University in May 2015. She has since registered for the Reading Specialist Certification Program through Sul Ross State University. Lilliana has formed excellent relationships with colleagues, parents, and members of the community. She recently participated in McAllen ISD’s Mid-Management Roundtable for aspiring assistant principals. Lilliana has also served as the Intra-District Educational Assembly Representative, International Baccalaureate Leadership Team Representative, and Math Vertical Team Representative for her campus. Her greatest strengths include inspiring and motivating students and teachers. She firmly believes that better educational decisions are made through active participation, effective communication and collaboration. Lilliana strives to continue bettering herself in an effort to be a great role model for her students, and an inspiration to her colleagues.

Why do you teach?  I have always known that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. I began my educational career as a Special Education Paraprofessional 13 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed working with students, and watching them grow academically. I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of students throughout my years in education and have learned that sadly many times we are the only role models they have to look up to. I teach to inspire, motivate, and give my students the love and understanding that they need.

What do you love about teaching?  I love watching my students learn, and grow academically as well as socially. As a Special Education Teacher I have embraced every opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of my students. I have learned to never take anything for granted and to appreciate the smallest things in life. Nothing makes me happier than to see the joy in my students’ faces when they have accomplished a goal that they have worked so hard towards achieving.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?  My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Lilia Guerra was my greatest inspiration. She made learning so much fun, and always gave it her all to ensure that we were successful. She provided us with so many wonderful learning opportunities that I still treasure dearly. She was that one teacher that you always remember because she was absolutely wonderful and genuinely loved teaching.