Betty Caldwell, Saint Francis Xavier Elementary


A darkly lit room got a bright surprise when Javier Soto surprised another well-deserving teacher, Ms. Betty Caldwell at Saint Francis Xavier with the Silver Apple award.

Each year 8 teachers are honored for their excellence in education with this great award and are given $500 for use in their classroom. Well-spoken past student, Noah, nominated Ms. Caldwell because "she definitely sets the bar for me to put in 110% in class," In his nomination letter he continues to say that he "admire(s) her passion as an educator because teaching isn't a job for everyone."

The love that Ms. Caldwell has for her students is what keeps her moving forward after decades of being in the classroom.

Ms. Caldwell shares a passion for teaching and continues to inspire her students everyday. We asked her to share some of her experiences with us.

Why did you decide to get into teaching?
I have always enjoyed working with kids so when my own two children grew a little I went to Grand Canyon College and got my hours for my teaching certificate. I have my BS from NAU in Biology.
What is your favorite teaching moment?
That "aha" moment when a struggling student gets the lesson is my favorite.

How did you feel when you realized you won the Silver Apple Award?
I was totally shocked, flattered and humbled.
What do you plan on doing with the $500 grant?
I will probably use it for my "kids" --- all 61 of them!
What is one of your best practices in the classroom?
Be prepared but be flexible. You never know when a "teachable" moment will appear.
What advice would you give to new teachers?
Be flexible & have a sense of humor. The best lesson plans can always change. Let the students lead the way.
What was the greatest life lesson you've learned through your teaching experience that has affected your personal life?
Cherish those you love, we can lose people in an instant. A student I had taught in the 90's came back as a teacher. I was lucky enough to get to know him as an adult & a fantastic teacher. He died way too young. I have good memories of him as a student and a friend.

Congratulations to Ms. Caldwell for her excellence in education and thank you for making a difference in the lives of Arizona's future leaders.