With the Foundation for Public Education (FPE), the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) would like to congratulate Dr. Benjamin “Benjie” Santiago (or Dr. B) for his recognition as the 2021 Guam Teacher of the Year (GTOY).
Dr. Benjie was chosen amongst six finalists on Sunday, April 25, 2021, on a Zoom broadcast courtesy of KUAM Studios. Since 1971, a handful of teachers are nominated for their accomplishments, contributions, and commitment to the profession. After undergoing rigorous evaluations and observations, one teacher is named Guam’s “Teacher of the Year.”
Dr. Benjie has established an extensive teaching career in his 25 years with the GDOE and for the past 15 years, has taught cultural dance and journalism at Agueda I. Johnston Middle School. Along with a trail-blazing career in education, Dr. Benjie encourages and inspires others to live healthy lives as an instructor at a local fitness center.
“As educators strive to do,” said Dr. Benjie during the Teacher of Year presentation, “we teach our students to accomplish things that would make their parents proud of them. Even at my age, I want my parents to be proud of me so this is for you, Mr. and Mrs. Benny and Margaret Santiago.”
“What’s inspiring about Dr. B,” said Jon Fernandez, the Guam Department of Education Superintendent, “is that his passion does not end in the classroom. He continues to perpetuate our cultural practices in community events and brings these lessons back into the classroom to help our kids develop into young citizens. When we talk about legacies, that is what we are talking about – lessons and skills that go above and beyond the classroom.”
“It’s beautiful that Dr. B won this year,” said Maria Leon Guerrero, Chairwoman of the Foundation for Public Education, “I love what he does as a cultural advocate. With all of his accomplishments, Dr. B adds diversity to our legacy of ‘Teacher of the Year.’”
We would also like to recognize the five exemplary educators who made it to the finals:
Michelle De Guzman, Liguan Elementary School
Ceferino Duarosan, Jr., Adacao Elementary School
Kristine Gianchand, Finegayan Elementary School
Noshista Benavente-Delgado, George Washington High School
Vann Peter Libranda, Okkodo High School
The GDOE and FPE would like to thank all the generous sponsors for the 2021 GDOE Teacher of the Year, and most especially our presenting sponsors: Bank of Guam, Cars Plus, and KUAM Careforce.