Parents decorate Samantha Pulliam’s door as a show of gratitude during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Teacher and Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11, and LAUSD Daily is celebrating the classroom heroes who work every day to educate, lead, mentor and inspire the students of L.A. Unified. Each day this week, we will profile a teacher or substitute teacher selected by their Local District administrators as an example of the highly skilled and dedicated professionals who make up our teaching corps. Today, we feature Samantha Pulliam, a first-grade teacher at Union Avenue Elementary School in Local District Central.

It seems that Samantha Pulliam was destined to become a teacher at Union Avenue Elementary School.

As the daughter of a teacher at Union Avenue, a young Samantha often visited her mom’s campus, stepping in to help with the little tasks that make a classroom run smoothly.

And when it came time to launch her education career, she again found herself at the Westlake neighborhood school, first as a teacher’s assistant, then a substitute and eventually as a first-grade teacher in Room 58.

“I’ve known since I was a kid that this is what I wanted to do, because I saw the difference it made in kids’ lives,” she said. “I wanted to be able make an impact like that.”

Local District Superintendent Roberto Martinez noted that Pulliam often spends her recess and lunch breaks in her classroom, working with kids who need additional support and engaging those who want an extra challenge.

Samantha Pulliam followed in her mother’s footsteps, teaching students at Union Avenue Elementary School.

“Her hard work pays off at the end of the year,” Martinez said. “Every one of her students makes great gains and leaves her classroom reading.”

Pulliam has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a master’s in reading. A National Board Certified Teacher in literacy, Pulliam participates in Union Avenue’s intervention initiatives, heads Union Avenue’s gifted program, and is a mentor for L.A. Unified interns.

“Ms. Pulliam is a committed educator that brings her passion and love for teaching everyday into the classroom,” said Principal Veronica Herrera. “She makes sure that all her students are successful and engaged in their learning. She makes a difference every day at Union Avenue and in the lives of our students.”