Pay It 4ward: Rio Grande HS teacher recognized for going above and beyond for students

[anvplayer video=”5178167″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As another school year comes to a close, so does a season of teacher appreciation. But KOB 4 couldn’t let the moment pass without recognizing one teacher in particular, a man who provides whatever his students may need.

Whether it’s a favorite book, a present during the holidays or simply a can of soup.

“Dean is just that – he knows how to build connections. He cares for his students immensely,” said Principal of Rio Grande High School Antoinette Valenzuela. 

Valenzuela jumped at the opportunity to highlight philosophy teacher Dean Leh.

“He wants to make sure the kids have everything that they need,” said Valenzuela. 

Whether it’s buying all the books on their wishlist, making 175 stockings for them at Christmas, or homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so no one is distracted by hunger in class.

“He is that caregiver,” Valenzuela said. “He’s definitely the zen. You feel just that peace when you’re around him.”

It’s not difficult for people to recognize Mr. Leh’s influence. In fact, a woman on Facebook – who he has never met in person – is the reason we’re here.

“I am presenting on behalf of Carolyn, she is a teacher in Belen,” said Valenzuela. “She actually has never met Dean Leh, but she’s Facebook friends with him, and she just is fully inspired by what he does for students.”

“Carolyn writes, ‘My words are simple, Dean’s care and concern for the well-being of his students is genuine. The connections he makes with them ensures that his lessons go far beyond the classroom. Dean inspires me not only to be a better teacher, but a better human,’” said the principal. 

So it was time to Pay It 4ward with $400.

Watch the video above for more.