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Special ed teacher at Cortez HS who inspires future teachers honored with Silver Apple

Silver Apple is sponsored by Arizona Bank and Trust.
"I appreciate every special ed teacher out there and the things they do, all teachers who help...
"I appreciate every special ed teacher out there and the things they do, all teachers who help people and benefit people with disabilities," Dan Van Tienderen said. "I really like to give my students a chance." (Sponsored by Arizona Bank & Trust)(Arizona's Family)
Updated: Dec. 13, 2021 at 1:41 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - He thought he was going to the library for one of his inspiring talks, but I surprised him with an award he wasn’t expecting.

“Mr. Van Tienderen, Javier Soto with Arizona’s Family 3TV. We are here to present you with the Silver Apple Award for excellence in education.”

Shocked and in disbelief, Dan Van Tienderen responded with, “Wow! Thank you.”

A special education teacher at Cortez High School, Van Tienderen is our latest Silver Apple Award recipient. His teacher’s assistant, Rochelle Orozco, nominated him.

“I’ve been Mr. Dan’s TA for two years and have been in his club for three,” the Cortez High senior said. “In three years, he’s truly inspired me to be a special needs teacher. Seeing how passionate he is at his job as a special needs teacher really changed my perspective on teachers. I believe he deserves this! One hundred words isn’t enough for me to express why he deserves this.”

“It is an honor. Not every teacher is honored in such a way,” Van Tienderen, known to his students as Mr. Dan Van, said after hearing Rochelle’s essay. “Not every teacher has a student reach out on their behalf to honor them with that, so it means a lot to me. ... I appreciate every special ed teacher out there and the things they do, all teachers who help people and benefit people with disabilities,” Van Tienderen continued. “I really like to give my students a chance.”

Now they are showing their appreciation for Van Tienderen’s ongoing love and support with a Silver Apple award and a $1,000 check from Arizona Bank & Trust. Van Tienderen hopes to inspire future teachers like Rochelle to show that same love and dedication.

“It means a ton to be able to pass that on to someone else who has learned to love what I love and who can carry the torch for me when I move on to whatever I do after teaching.”