A preschool teacher at the Ocotillo Early Learning Center was honored with the September Teacher Excellence Award today.

Natashia Novak is a special education teacher in the Sunnyside Unified School District. She has taught for 8 years and was nominated by a colleague.

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Natashia Novak embodies excellence by guiding aspiring educators as a mentor and fostering an inclusive classroom for preschool children with special needs,” Jennifer Arenas-Cardenas wrote in her nomination. She added Novak’s “unwavering support for general education teachers in aiding children with disabilities underscores her commitment to collaboration. She offers top-tier professional development that elevates her colleagues’ inclusionary practices.

The award comes from Tucson Values Teachers, and includes $250 cash courtesy of the Helios Education Foundation. It also comes with a $100 gift card, flowers. and a TVT tumbler.