Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2009 Alumni Washington Fellow
Bio/Overview: Rodríguez currently teaches 5th grade at Patricia Knowles Elementary as a self-contained bilingual teacher in Leander Independent School District (ISD), located in Central Texas near Austin. Before coming to the Austin area, he taught in Weslaco ISD at both Cleckler-Heald Elementary and Beatriz Garza Middle School. Weslaco is located in deep-south Texas just a few miles from the U.S./Mexico border, commonly referred to as the Rio Grande Valley. During his nine years in Weslaco, Rodríguez taught 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grades as a bilingual teacher.
Achievements: In 2001, Rodríguez received the distinction of being Weslaco's District Teacher of the Year and proudly represented his district as a Texas Regional Teacher of the Year Nominee in 2002.
Leadership Experience: As a Teaching Ambassador Fellow, Rodriguez worked on a wide variety of activities. He contributed monthly to the selection of education articles for the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s online newsletter The Innovator. He teamed up with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization workgroup focusing on English Language Learners and advocated for dual-language instruction which was eventually integrated into the ESEA Blueprint. Rodriguez also worked with the U.S. Treasury Department’s education team focusing on financial literacy which developed the National Teacher Toolkit on financial literacy. He collaborated with President Obama’s speech writer on a national address to America’s school children which the President delivered on September 8, 2009 at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. He facilitated and monitored a peer review panel that evaluated twenty Investing in Innovation development application grants. Rodriquez also served as a Special Adviser to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. In 2011, he transported a twelve-foot live oak tree from Austin, Texas to Washington, D.C. which was planted near 6th street and C Street in southwest Washington, D.C.; it serves as the official tree of the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to serving actively in TAF activities, Rodriguez has worked together with the National Education Association and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. His professional career outside of the classroom has included writing and editing collaboratively the 3rd edition of the Middle Childhood Generalist Certificate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Affiliations: Texas Exes, National Association for Bilingual Education
Education: Rodríguez attended Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas where he received his B.A. in Government. After several years as an urban regional planner with the Rio Grande Valley Council of Government, he returned to school to earn his teaching credentials through an alternative certification program. In 2003, he received the South Texas Fellowship to attend the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas in Austin. Rodríguez completed his master’s work in public policy in May 2008.Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Bilingual education
- Data systems
- Rural education