2023 ANNUAL FUND
Faculty Spotlight Series
Molly Valdez '08
High School World Languages Department Chair
5 Years at Willows Academy
Meet Molly Valdez, High School World Languages Department Chair and Spanish Teacher. Ms. Valdez graduated from Willows Academy in 2008, and shortly thereafter, moved to Spain, where she spent the next seven years. She also spent time teaching in Peru, an experience that solidified her love of working in education.
Ms. Valdez has now been a teacher for nine years, and is in her fifth year back at Willows. Her time abroad gave her confidence that anyone can learn a second language and she is grateful for the opportunity to support her students, both in learning languages and as women of faith, preparing to make a positive difference in the world.
Want to learn more about Ms. Valdez’ experience and why she loves Willows Academy? See below for our conversation with her!
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What drew you to become a high school teacher?
I’ve taught in Spain and Peru, and I’m not a native Spanish speaker myself. I understand the struggle of learning a new language, but I also understand the beauty of it. Learning a new language is not exclusive. Anyone can do it, and it can open so many doors. Having this philosophy allows me to put myself in my students’ shoes and help them the best I can.
Being in the classroom and working with students is an absolute joy for me. Teaching is where I’m the happiest. I have a really good time conversing with my students and being able to get to know them inside and outside the classroom. I’ve formed really special connections that continue to go past high school.
What attracted you to teach specifically at in an all-girls school?
There’s a real benefit to single-sex education. The girls at Willows Academy are thriving and going against the current. We’re able to provide a space here for the girls to grow and have opportunities that they may only have in an all-girls environment. The heart of our mission is sanctifying work and character education. Our core values are joy, integrity, excellence, and generosity, and everyone buys into that. It transforms how the school works.
What makes Willows Academy so special?
I loved my experience at Willows Academy. I was a member of Willows Chamber Choir, musicals, and sports—I took the lead wherever I could. Being in a smaller classroom is naturally more comfortable, and because my experience was so positive and really the best thing for me, I wanted to continue that. I believe in the mission of the school, and it’s important to me that the legacy of the school continues.
A former teacher and colleague of mine, Robin Huntington, always used to say, ‘We want our daughters to go to Harvard and Heaven, and if we had to choose one, we’d choose Heaven.’ We’re a school trying to prepare our girls for the world and to be strong in that mission. We know what the most important thing is here. We’re forming girls into women who’ll change the world.