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sarkisian and students Juan P. Córdova (second from left) pictured with Coach Steve Sarkisian and Stephanie Sarkisian.

Juan P. Córdova: 2013-2014 Sarkisian Fellow

After moving cross-country from New York and spending six years building his career at a credit union lender, Juan P. Córdova had a full toolbox of professional skills. He had a strong background in building relationships, meeting deadlines, planning education modules, and, perhaps most importantly, helping people through collaboration. “In every job, I wanted to improve peoples lives through teaching,” Juan said.

Things clicked for Juan at a UW teacher preparation information session where, “it just felt right.” He began coursework this year and was recently named the 2013 – 2014 Steve and Stephanie Sarkisian Endowed Fellow.

“My colleagues are working with me to learn how we can make an impact, how to reach a shared vision for social justice and multicultural education,” Juan states. “It’s great to be valued as a teacher of color. Since coming to this country twenty-two years ago, being a person of color could be a huge disadvantage. And now to be in a place in which I’m seen as someone who has a valuable experience; I finally feel that I’m in a place where all the hard work that I’m doing amounts to something that I can really believe in.”

Steve and Stephanie Sarkisian certainly believe in Juan’s dedication to education. They created the Sarkisian Endowment to recognize meritorious teacher-candidates and to support an equitable educational system.

“My wife Stephanie and I believe strongly that every bright future must have at its core a solid educational foundation,” Sarkisian said. “We both attended public schools so we understand the value of public education. We created the Sarkisian Endowed Fellowship in Education to provide assistance and enthusiastic encouragement to aspiring public school teachers.”

The Sarkisian’s are strong supporters of public education in Washington State and are eager to support teacher candidates, like Juan, who will go on to teach in local high-needs classrooms.

“I want to thank them for this opportunity, for believing in me,” Juan states. “We are working to get rid of the achievement gap and their investment will be put to good use.”
Help teacher candidates like Juan by contributing to the Steve and Stephanie Sarkisian Endowed Fellowship.


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