10 Under 40 Winner: Maria Guzman

Maria Guzman
Educator for Sioux City Community School District (Irving Dual Language Elementary School)

What are you working on now?

I have been a kindergarten teacher at Irving Dual Language Elementary School for eight years and will continue to be a kindergarten teacher this new school year. I started helping the dance group at Irving about 6 years ago and now I am one of the dance teachers for the group. We volunteer our time after school and in the summer to teach Mexican Folkloric dance to Irving students.  We practice after school and perform throughout the community. I am recently planning to start the dance group back up at Irving. The dancers really missed it and the community has reached out for performances as well.  I am hoping to have the group practicing and be able to come to the parades and performances this school year. I am also working with Theresa from the Sioux City Public Museum and other community members, planning the annual Day of the Dead celebration.

What is your vision for the future? / What would you like to see happen in Siouxland?

My vision for the future is to keep growing and learning in my profession so that I can keep doing what is best for students. I would like to see Siouxland growing as a unified community by supporting cultural events or the diverse local businesses the community has to offer. 

What are you doing to make that happen?

I am learning and growing in my profession by going back to school to receive my Master’s. I want to continue to do conferences or reading on my own time, about strategies or ideas to implement in my classroom. I am also supporting the community by helping plan a cultural event for the community that is fun and educational.

How can people help you make that happen? 

People can help make this happen by attending the fun events the Sioux City Public Museum and other organizations have to offer. Also, by supporting our schools and teachers.

What is the most important key to success?

The most important key to success is to work hard and follow your dreams.

What is one challenging life experience that taught you something you’ve been able to use to your benefit or to the benefit of others?

One challenging life experience that taught me to work hard since I was a child was moving to the United States as a 7-year-old and seeing my dreams of becoming a teacher disappear. I did not speak English and it made school very difficult. My parents taught me that I had to learn English and work hard. I teach at Irving Dual Language Elementary School. There are many students who do not speak English. I know how they feel, how I felt, starting school. I like being a role model for my students and showing them that it is possible. They often do not believe I did not speak English and it gives them a boost of confidence; which is something I wish I had as a child. I always share my experience of learning a new language with them, to hopefully inspire them to work hard, so they can fulfill their dreams when they grow up. However, also to know the importance of not losing their native language or culture.

What quote or saying inspires you?  

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” -Jennifer Dukes Lee


Mary J. Treglia Community House Volunteer

Siouxland Unidad Latina Volunteer

Volunteering with the dance group La Perla Tapatia – a Mexican Baile folklórico (“folkloric dance”)

Welcoming new immigrants to the Siouxland community and volunteering as a translator 

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