Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Annual Teacher of the Year Award 2012


Carlos Mauricio Parra-Quintero
2012 Carlos Mauricio Parra-Quintero Dominion High School, Loudoun County, Virginia

A native of Colombia, Carlos Mauricio Parra-Quintero was a drama teacher in his own country. He first came to Loudoun County in 2003 with his wife, a Visiting International Faculty (VIF) teacher. Parra worked at a Subway and other jobs after arriving in America. He then decided to return to teaching because it is his calling in life. Carlos worked as a long-term substitute before finding a permanent home as a Spanish teacher at Dominion High School, Loudoun County in 2007. In 2008, his students asked him to be Latin Dance Team sponsor.

Carlos makes use of his theatrical background and knowledge of instructional technology to create innovative, interactive lessons that help students connect with the material and with each other. He especially cherishes his role as a link to the Latino community.

“Some Latino students come to this country without the proper documentation because their family wants desperately for them to have an education and the opportunities America offers. Coming to a foreign country with no close friends or relatives and a limited understanding of English can be a daunting task.Their only friend is their pencil and their paper. It’s a new life.” Carlos strives to make each student feel a part of the community, focusing on the sharing of culture in class and through the Latin Dance Team. “Secure in their community, they also develop the confidence and desire to excel in school, with more taking AP classes each year and going on to college.”

Teaching philosophy

  • I teach for love. I teach from the heart – not just the head.
  • I love to trade ideas with my students.
  • We have to open minds, open possibilities to do something good in your life.


  • Sponsor of the Dominion Latin dance team; organizes annual Latin dance competition
  • “Mr. Parra’s amazing skill as an instructor empowers him to teach Spanish for fluent speakers and Advanced Placement Spanish concurrently. This combination of courses has strongly benefitted Hispanic students. For many of our students who are learning English as a second language, AP Spanish represents the first point of entry into the Advanced Placement curriculum, opening up a new world of educational opportunities.” Dominion Principal Dr. John Brewer
  • Dominion junior Martha Diaz plans to attend college and become a school counselor or elementary school teacher. “Mr. Parra inspired me to pursue my dream and goals in achievable steps.”

Photo Captions:
Photo 1
(l-r) John Brewer, principal Dominion High, Martha Diaz, DHS Junior and Captain of Dance Team, Carols Parra and Leveo Sanchez.