College of Education and Human Development wordmark.

Maria Le2015 Rising Alumni

Maria Le photo

Maria Le is a first grade teacher at Central Park Elementary and coordinates targeted services for the building. Maria played an instrumental role in the piloting of Roseville Area Schools’ new literacy curriculum, Literacy by Design©. During her tenure, she has earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for students and grown her responsibilities to include membership on several key district committees such as the District Reading Language Arts Team and the executive board for Education Minnesota’s Roseville constituency.

Employer

Classroom Teacher and Targeted Services Site Supervisor
Roseville Area Schools

CEHD Degree

B.S., Elementary Education;
M.Ed., Elementary Education

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

I have been a loyal University of Minnesota student. The College of Education and Human Development prepared me to be a leader amongst my colleagues when I entered the profession. I have continued to come back to CEHD for continued growth, both personally and professional. I am assured that I am getting a world-class education (I’m currently working on my 2nd graduate degree) and will be set-apart from others in my field.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew very early on that I wanted to be a teacher. I had made my decision in second grade during my elementary school's Spirit Week. The theme was, "The 50's." The school was decorated to resemble what it looked like in the 50's. Students were encouraged to dress in the clothing of that generation. As I came to school amongst the poodle skirts and scarves in the hair, I was having difficulty relating to what was happening around me since my parents knew very little about America growing up during a sad time in Vietnam's history. As I looked at an old picture hanging up on the wall outside the office, I remember a teacher explain to me that one of the students in the picture from the 50's is one of the current teachers at the school. I thought to myself, "I want to do that too!" This was my way to connect! Ever since then, I have been committed to the field of education so that I can one day inspire and be the connection for a child.

What's a "fun fact" about you?

I have donated my hair seven times in my lifetime. I have donated 12 inches, 15 inches, 18 inches, 20 inches, 22 inches, 21 inches, and 27 inches, respectively. My goal is to continue to donate my hair until I can no longer donate, or until my hair stops growing…whichever comes first.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

I would have to say my father has been most inspiring to me in my development as a teacher. My father was captured by the North Vietnamese army in a POW camp for 6 years. He escaped and brought my family to the states. He continued to work hard here so that we could get the best education my siblings and I could have. It is because of him that I try to better myself everyday.

What gets you excited about work?

Witnessing those "light bulb" moments that students have has been most rewarding. As a teacher, I simply guide the process of learning and allow the students to experience it. It is always an exciting moment when a student is engaged in their learning and feels a sense of accomplishment and success. Love those moments!

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

My faith and my family are the two most important things in my life. I am the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States in 1980 during the second wave. It is because of them I am who I am today. When I am not in school, I am often spending time with my family. I spend much of my time with my younger brother who has Autism. I am his co-guardian. I spend the other half of my time actively involved in several ministries at my church, Fountain of Life Gospel Church. Aside from these to things, I can be found: reading, going for walks, watching movies, playing the piano, singing, dancing, bike-riding or cheering for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, and Gophers!