Madison School District Teacher and Student Recipients of 2019 AZIBS Primary Years Programme Awards

Madison School District Teacher and Student Recipients of 2019 AZIBS Primary Years Programme Awards

Julia Hubbs and Sophie Garcia recognized by Arizona IB Schools Association as Student and Teacher of the Year

Madison Simis Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate Program took home not one, but TWO awards from the Arizona International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools Association. Simis teacher, Julia Hubbs, was named the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Teacher of the Year. Her former student, Sophie Garcia, is the 2019 recipient of the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Student of the Year award during her time as a fourth-grade student at Simis Elementary.


“Being a teacher at an IB world school requires dedication and the ability to demonstrate attributes such as being open-minded and an inquirer,” shared Madison Simis IB Coordinator Melissa Powers. “Julia Hubbs is that type of teacher. We are proud to have her as a teacher in our IB World School because she truly believes in each child’s ability to think and have ownership in their learning.” 


Through the IB curriculum at the Madison School District, students become independent learners capable of in-depth research, report writing, and taking action. Students inquire within the six IB transdisciplinary themes to become internationally minded.


“It feels so amazing to be honored for this award,” said Hubbs, who has 16 years of teaching experience, six of which is at Simis. “It didn’t just happen last year. This was 16 years in the making so I feel incredibly blown away by all the recognition.”


Hubbs said she found her niche with the IB program because it gives both the teacher and student voice and agency to make choices in their learning.


“The IB program is so amazing because it’s a combination of teaching on a global scale through inquiry, incorporating character education, and practicing 21st century skills like research and cooperative work,” Hubbs said. “I try to incorporate this every day in my classroom. This year I’m focusing on questioning because we’re always wondering and learning. It’s continually an adventure in the classroom.”


Madison student Sophie Garcia was extremely excited to hear that her hard work and dedication to “The Cleaning Committee” was being recognized. Garcia and her friends started TCC to keep the school campus clean. Kids could participate with their friends and work together during their social time to help clean up campus.


“I am honored to receive the award and excited to tell my classmates who were involved with the club last year that the TCC was being given an opportunity to be recognized on another level outside of the Simis campus,” Sophie said. “I am excited at the opportunity to be recognized in front of a group of people who are important to my community, and the plaque with my name on it is just icing on the cake.”


Melissa Powers added, “Sophie Garcia is one of the sweetest students you can meet. Because of her great empathy for others and her world, she helped organize a wonderful club at Simis which helped her win PYP student of the year. We are proud of her hard work, dedication and caring heart.”


The Garcia family said Hubbs absolutely deserved the Teacher of the Year Award.


“Ms. Hubbs is an incredible mentor with a huge heart that resonates with the kids that are lucky enough to have her as a teacher,” the Garcia family said. “We are so lucky that Sophie had the opportunity to be a part of Ms. Hubbs’ classroom, and the amount of appreciation that our family (and the Madison Simis Family) have for her is endless.”


Sophie, now in fifth grade at Madison Meadows Middle School, aspires to one day be a digital animator, creating digital animated videos/movies. 


Hubbs said as a teacher, she lives by the philosophy to “ignite curiosity, don’t extinguish it.”


“I want my students to leave school every day exhausted but excited for the next day wondering what they will learn about next,” Hubbs said.

Learn more about Madison Elementary School Districts high-performing schools at

More information about the International Baccalaureate® Programme is available at

Follow Madison Elementary School District on social media at:
Instagram: @Madison_AZ

About Madison Elementary School District

For more than 125 years, Madison Elementary School District (Madison Schools) has been one of the top elementary school districts in the state with its eight schools consistently earning high honors. Founded in 1890, Madison Schools serves approximately 5,800 students in the heart of Phoenix from 32nd Street to 7th Avenue and between Indian School and Northern. Five of its schools are in the top 10 Phoenix public elementary schools through AzMerit scores and nearly 50 percent of its students come from outside the District. This means nearly 2,800 families choose a Madison Schools education over their neighborhood school. The district has been recognized locally and nationally for its outstanding “signature” educational programs including the International Baccalaureate program, Spanish Immersion, REACH program, Visual and Performing Arts, Traditional curriculum, and Spanish Fluency,  For additional information about Madison Schools, please visit

Heather Austin
Public Relations for Madison Elementary School District
M: (602) 738-9252
[email protected]

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