Cheryl Ortiz

Cheryl Ortiz has come through a difficult year and emerged as a strong single mother of three and a mother-figure to hundreds. Now she can officially claim the title of “Best Mom in Maricopa.”

The mother of Caleb, age 11, Adelina, 8, and Elijah, 4, Ortiz is a first-grade teacher at Legacy Traditional School. She estimates she has taught more than 300 students in her 11 years on the job, the last four at Legacy. The mother of one of those former students has become a close friend, Barbie Samsel, who nominated Ortiz for InMaricopa’s “Best Mom” contest on its Facebook page.

She has been through so much and her faith in God has never wavered, and her love for her children knows no bounds,” Samsel said. “She has such a kind and giving heart not only to her own children but also to the children she cares for everyday in her first-grade classroom.”

Ortiz said she was “totally blown away” when her nomination received the most Facebook “likes” of 19 nominees.

“I feel undeserving and so humble,” she said. “There are a million and one wonderful mothers in Maricopa.”

A serious domestic violence situation upended the lives of the Ortiz family this year. She said they were instantly embraced by Against Abuse. The community also encircled them, reaching out to help in often anonymous ways as she helped her children adjust to a “new normal.” The children were “adopted” for Christmas, and cards with cash were left to help through the holidays and beyond.

The community support was clear in the nomination post as parent after parent called her “amazing.”

“She’s super nice and caring,” her son Caleb added.

Cheryl Ortiz with her children Adelina, Elijah and Caleb accepts prizes as Maricopa’s “Best Mom” as voted by Facebook readers. Photo by Mason Callejas

As “Best Mom in Maricopa,” her prizes include a flower bouquet, a Mother’s Day brunch with the family at Arroyo Grille at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, a $50 gift card from Ace Hardware and a month of free training at Longevity Athletics.

See all of the terrific nominees at

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Now, get prepared for our Best Dad in Maricopa contest coming up in June.


A small sampling of what friends had to say about Cheryl Ortiz:

Cheryl is truly an inspirational person inside and out!! – Shawna Hainey Bennett

Her children are amazing and resilient because she has taught them valuable skills and has taught them to love! – Cindy M. Jones

You would never know she has been through so much because she is the sweetest person. We love her! – Kristina Beauchemin

She’s truly a caring, compassionate woman with the patience of a saint. Always smiling, always watching out for the kids, always seeing a child’s inner worth. – Sharon Elsberry

She is a fighter, she is a beacon of hope, she is a light for God, she is a teacher, a mother, a friend and all around she reminds everyone around her to strive to become their best version of themselves. – Jen Nebeker