With a master's in history from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University where she graduated summa cum laude, it might come as a surprise to learn that Maricruz Aguayo-Tabor rose from the poverty-stricken area of the Rio Grande Valley. But that makes Aguayo-Tabor an icon of the possible for her students and fellow educators at Austin's Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School where she is social studies department chair.
During the school's conversion to an independent magnet, she took the lead in creating the Magnet Planning Guide Curriculum for every social studies course district-wide. Her own classes run like graduate school, as students learn to research history in the context of global themes like hunger or women's roles. One assignment had student teams research, write and produce European history films; another was a study of religious architecture around the world.
Aguayo-Tabor is dedicated to students who enter high school with inadequate preparation, and the results speak for themselves as 100% of her students passed the state tests required in Texas. She developed the year-long Advanced Placement European history curriculum, and the growing number of students who enroll in this course go on to excel on the AP exam. As a humanities educator, Aguayo-Tabor was named one of the nation's top 25 math teachers for her sponsorship of the school's award-winning math team. She is National Board Certified and a mentor to fellow teachers who, like her students, are inspired by Aguayo-Tabor's high standards and joy of learning.
1999 Brandeis University, B.A.; Harvard University, A.M.