Trayce De Leon teaches fifth grade at West Valley Christian School. She has been teaching for 28 years. De Leon was born in Miami. Her family moved to South Carolina when she was 10 and she went to college there, so she says she considers South Carolina home. She moved to Arizona when her husband was stationed at Luke Air Force Base. He is now retired.
De Leon says she has always loved being in the classroom. When she was younger, she liked to play school and be the student with her sister acting as teacher. “I feel it was just something that has always been in me,” she says.
She explains that she always liked homework and schedules, and history was her favorite subject when she was younger. “In college I thought that I would be a lawyer and major in history,” says De Leon. Instead, she got her degree in elementary education at the College of Charleston. These days, her favorite subject to teach is math.
Student Mikayla writes, “My teacher is the best because she is the right amount of nice and strict…and is the best at teaching math.” Mikayla nominated De Leon. She also notes that her teacher will play four square or basketball with students and makes up fun nicknames.
De Leon says she wants her students to know “your identity is not in your test scores” and hopes that they make the right choices today for success in the future.
“I wish they could see the hope that they have if they stick with their education,” says De Leon. She wants her students to “see the talents they have and not what they don’t have. If they could see their potential.”
De Leon played the clarinet and piano when she was younger. “I used to be pretty musical,” she says. “My family is very musical and artsy.”
These days, De Leon likes to refinish furniture, go antiquing, cook, paint and go to church.
When asked about an unusual classroom incident, De Leon recalls one that, unfortunately, has become normal for her. “My very first day of teaching, I had a student vomit,” she says. But it seems to happen every year. Whether due to nerves or, she speculates, “maybe my classroom is too warm,” but for some reason “I bring out the vomit in kids.”
For her students, De Leon also works to bring out the best version of themselves and hope for the future.