By Christian Weaner
Connie Perez, Fourth Grade Valley View Elementary School
Connie Perez was born and raised in Bonners Ferry, and in many ways, she exemplifies what it means to be a member of her community.
"I had a wonderful childhood growing up here with my family, cousins and close friends, living that laid-back Bonners Ferry life," Connie recalled. "I now enjoy teaching in the same building that I attended for fifth through eighth grade.
“This is my home and my community, and I feel blessed to be able to teach our community's children," she added.
Connie recently began her 35th year of teaching fourth grade at Valley View Elementary School, but her initial inspiration to become a teacher came when she was in third grade at Northside Elementary.
"I thought [my teacher] Miss Connor was the best, and I loved every day of that year," Connie shared. "I still remember learning my multiplication facts and trying to estimate the time interval of one minute."
As she got older, Connie thought about some other options, but ultimately, she knew she enjoyed school and children, and she kept coming back to the idea of teaching. "It has been the right choice for me," she confirmed.
Throughout her teaching career, Connie has been fortunate to work alongside fellow educators like Dottie Gray and Doreen Beck, who share her passion for her students. Connie explained that teaching elementary school requires patience, flexibility, and a willingness to grow and adapt.
"In education, I believe we are continuously learning along with the kids," Connie examined. "I used to be able to help others with the technology in the classroom. Now I rely on the younger teachers to help me out, even when they tease me about how large my text is on my phone."
Today, in addition to her teaching duties, Connie is a member of multiple committees within the Boundary County School District (BCSD), helping to make decisions on important issues like curriculum choices, report card revisions and curriculum mapping. Aside from teaching, Connie enjoys spending time with her son Jake and his wife Kara, and the rest of her family and her friends. She appreciates the "simple things" like sitting around a campfire, playing board or card games, crafting, mountain drives or watching the kids play ball games, and she loves to read daily and watch a good movie every now and then.
Ultimately, throughout every step of her career, Connie's love for her students has been the driving force behind all that she does.
"My favorite aspect of teaching in BCSD will always be the kids," Connie explained. "They teach me perspective and help me to keep laughing at myself. I enjoy being with the kids, learning new things, laughing, playing, and watching them grow in so many ways."