Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Annual Teacher of the Year Award 2010


Andrea de Gatica
2010 Andrea de Gatica Thomas Edison High School, Fairfax County, Virginia

Originally from Santiago, Chile, Andrea de Gatica speaks five languages fluently – English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese – and is certified to teach three, as well as ESOL.. She holds an undergraduate degree in English and Spanish Literature from the University of Montreal, an M.S. in Education, specializing in ESOL from the Catholic University of Chile, and an M.A. in Foreign Language from George Mason University.

After teaching at George Mason University, Andrea moved to Thomas Edison High School where she quickly became the faculty mentor to the Hispanic Leadership Club, a vehicle for improving the public image and self image of Hispanic youth, led by International Baccalaureate students studying Spanish, and is not limited to students of Hispanic descent.

Through the club, students work to portray a positive image of the Hispanic community and serve as role models. They meet monthly with the Thomas Edison principal, Gregory Croghan; bring in community and business leaders to speak about their pathway to success; organize service projects; and work with parents, providing computer training.”

Andrea works closely with the Padres Latinos group for Hispanic parents, information sessions to help them motivate their children. “I wanted the parents to get involved in school activities and to feel a connection with the school.”

Her experience, and a desire to help others, is the driving force behind her efforts to teach ESOL students. She also tries to instill a sense of pride in their heritage and academic success.


Teaching philosophy

  • When parents, teachers, and students work together, learning is enhanced.
  • I motivate my students to motivate themselves.
  • Education is so important, I want them to always look at what’s next for them, not to be stagnant.


  • Established a Parents as Educational Partners (PEP) program at George Mason.
  • Created a student-exchange program between George Mason and a Chilean school
  • Mentor to Hispanic Leadership Club at Thomas Edison
  • Inspired other schools in Fairfax County to start their own Hispanic Leadership Club

Photo Captions:
Photo 1
(l-r) James E. Bundschuh, former president, Marymount University; Victoria Sanchez (Board Member); Andrea de Gatica and husband, Mike Stollenwerk; Mike Sierra (Board Member) Gregory Croghan, principal Thomas Edison High School.