Excel Award: Jose Alfaro, Male High School

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WHAS11.com

Posted on November 11, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 11 at 10:39 PM

It's the start of a new school year for the WHAS11 and Eon U.S. Excel Award.

For two decades it has honored outstanding public school teachers.

The Excel Award is beginning its 21st year, in seven school districts in Kentuckiana.

Jose Alfaro came to this country from El Salvador and he brought with him, a work ethic and engaging personality that makes him a calculus teacher to remember at male high school.

Welcome to pre-calculus, a piece at a time. It's enough to scare any teenager, but the daunting challenge of high school math is taught by the magician of the smart board.

Jose Alfaro uses technology and technique to demystify math.

“Everything I do, I go step by step. I break it down into pieces. So, thru experience I have learned, if I get them piece by piece, they can get there,” said Alfaro.

In short, he works hard to make it easy for his students.

“He just works non-stop and it's really all for the betterment of himself and the students here at Male.”

It's a work ethic honed by growing up very poor in El Salvador He went off to college with less than a dollar in his pocket and today, hard work brought a symbol of excellence.

Jose Alfaro is now a multiple award winner in the school system, and the superintendent knows an extraordinary teacher when he sees one.

“I would say you come closest to the description of a renaissance man that I can imagine. The diversity of background you bring to focus in on work with children,” said JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman.

The background includes master’s degrees in business and Spanish literature and of course math but his personality is the driving force that reaches kids.

“Make them believe it's easy. I always tell them, if you I can do it, you can do it. I always tease about myself. I say, if a guy with a chimichanga accent can do it, so why not you,” said Alfaro.

And thru the tears, he told why he works so hard.

“But it's my students. They deserve everything, the opportunity we can give them.”

It's a teacher giving every opportunity to his students through technology and hard work.

As an Excel Award winner José Alfaro receives a $1000 teacher grant from the sponsor Eon U.S.

There will be 12 more Excel Awards presented during this school year, including next Wednesday, another award in Jefferson County.

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