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of the Year
2010 - 2011
2 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
A salute to the county’s Teachers of the Year
Each year, the Los Lunas and Belen school districts honor one of their best by naming a district Teacher of the Year. In making their choice, they select from among Teachers of the Year nominated by each school. Teachers often work with little recognition, so this News-Bulletin special section is designed to spotlight these outstanding teachers in an end-ofthe-school-year tribute. The Teachers of the Year from the various schools are listed in alphabetical order by name, with the stories of the district honorees presented on Pages 8 and 9. New this year, the School of Dreams Academy charter school in Los Lunas has also selected a Teacher of the Year. We asked the sort of questions we think parents would, if given a chance — about how these extraordinary teachers inspire our children, how they decided to become teachers and what their most touching classroom moments are. We hope you enjoy their stories. And to all you wonderful teachers out there, we offer our respect and gratitude.
School of Dreams Academy
Grade or subject taught: Sevenththrough 10th-grade science, math and pre-engineering. Education: Bachelor’s degree, Western New Mexico University, 1994. Worked in the mining industry, and after an injury earned second bachelor’s from WNMU, a B.S. in Secondary Education with an emphasis in biology. Family: Son, Ethan, 9; daughter, Bethany, 4; wife, Patricia, “who is a really cool lady.” How long have you been teaching: 12 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “Teaching was my first choice, I was leaning towards teaching at Western and some of my professors got me passionate about biology. I really always wanted to be a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher, so it was just one of those things that I always thought I wanted to do.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Seeing kids succeed. It’s not about the competitions or any of those things. It is about the kid who is having a hard time doing something and I can actually talk to them and find some way to make them understand and see that light click. Teaching is about the moments. When something happens and you get this personal oneon-one time with somebody and you can teach them something about life.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I have lots of good memories. I don’t have just one favorite classroom memory. I can’t pick out one favorite one, they are all good. I’ve had good memories where kids have risen above their expectations and done phenomenal things and then I have really funny memories where kids have done some really crazy things.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “You know I really believe that kids learn from different techniques. I have kids who really gravitate towards lecturing and others who really gravin See Eric Brown, Page 3
Tomé Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Fourth grade, dual-language (English-Spanish). Education: B.A. in Education, New Mexico Highlands University; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Colorado-Denver. Family: One son, Nicholas Joaquin. How long have you been teaching? “32 years, 12 in New Mexico.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “Learning is life’s passion. My sister’s learning disability motivated me.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When the light goes on and the student ‘gets it,’ and when they use what they’ve learned.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “My son didn’t want to go to the second day of kindergarten, and he hid under a sink. A teacher found him, picked him up, and carried him to class to show him he’s not special.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Showing how important it is to ask and answer questions.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Expect children to learn, and expect families to send children to school for the purpose of learning.” What is your most touching student memory? “Being in a pediatrician’s office, and having a former student ask, ‘Do you remember me?’ The former student was the pediatrician.”
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H.T. Jaramillo Community School
Grade or subject taught: First grade. Education: University of New Mexico, B.S. in education; pursuing National Board Certification. Family: Daughter, Madison, 6, and son, Mathayas, 2. How long have you been teaching? “Since I got my degree in 2004. I started here teaching kindergarten for two years and I’ve taught first grade for five years.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I’ve always wanted to work with children. Kids are my passion. I like seeing their progress from year to year. They grow so much.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When that light bulb goes on. When a student has been having a hard time and they come to me and tell me they understand the math or the reading.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “When my students come back and say things like, ‘I remember when we had the ladybugs.’ When they still remember things like that.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “We focus always on the positive, not the negative. We give lots of high fives and really work on respect. They learn how to speak to each other.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “The best way is to get in there with them. If they are working on a project down on the floor, I get down there with them. They like it when Ms. Campbell gets silly.” What is your most touching student memory? “I had one girl who has had a really rough year. She couldn’t focus and I wanted to keep her back. Now she’s at grade level and ready to move on to second grade. She is special to me.”
from PAGE 2 tate toward the hands-on. I really try to do a lot of hands-on stuff. I don’t know how you can teach science without teaching some hands-on stuff. My favorite technique is learning through failures. If something doesn’t work, we try something else. I think that is what is so cool about this school, we have the notion that there is no one set way to do things.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I listen. I listen to what they have to say and I try to help them to make good decisions so that they can do something with their education. I think that is the most important thing, just listening to them.” What is your most touching student memory? “Gosh, I have lots of
May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 3
students that come back and thank me every year, and I have good memories from all of them. Great things have happened to a lot of these kids. My most touching memories are those times that kids come back after many years and say, ‘Hey, thanks for doing that and offering me this,’ I have probably had six or seven visits this year, and that is always touching. I had a student of mine who recently passed away, and she was a great student. Somebody who was really doing what she wanted to do and going for her dream, and I saw her the summer before she passed away and she thanked me for doing all the dissections in class because it helped her to want to become a neurosurgeon.”
“My favorite technique is learning through failures. If something doesn’t work, we try something else.”
ERIC BROWN School of Dreams Academy
Infinity High School
Grade or subject taught: Algebra I, consumer math, biology, earth science and physical science. Education: Bachelor’s in math education with a concentration in science; master’s from New Mexico Tech; green teacher certification, and numerous other certifications. Family: Two grown sons and three grandchildren. How long have you been teaching? “About 15 years.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I’ve always wanted to teach. Some little girls played house, I played teacher. I would get all the kids in the neighborhood to play along, set up little desks.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When a graduate goes on to get their degree and then comes back and says, ‘Hi Mrs. Dodge. You’re the reason I’m in this field.’ I actually had that happen.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “Every year, especially in earth science, there are some students who question and we get into these great discussions. If you tell them what something looks like, they ask, ‘How do you know?’ We have some really good exchanges.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “You have to keep it interactive and interesting. I use the Internet a lot. Some of the text books come with a CD. Anything to not just sit there with them staring at a book. And I bring my own experiences into the classroom. That’s one of the reasons I’m always taking classes. Last summer I got to go on a zero-gravity simulator — the ‘Vomit Comet.’ I always try to introduce new things, new experiences.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I get excited and I’m not afraid to show it.” What is your most touching student memory? “At graduation, we have a tradition at our school. Each student gets two roses and they give them to the people who helped them the most through school. There was a young lady two or three years ago who had dropped out and came back for her degree. She needed help with math, so we met before and after school. She gave me a rose. I should have given her one. She did all the work. She deserved it.”
Belen Consolidated Schools
DISTRICT MISSION STATEMENT
To help students acquire the knowledge, skills and character to become productive adults, deal effectively with change and have a positive impact on their community.
BCS Teachers of the Year! “We applaud your dedication, outstanding service, and commitment.”
www.belen.schoolfusion.us • 505-966-1000
4 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
Ann Parish Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Bilingual fourth-grade. Education: Master’s in Spanish, and a master’s in Elementary Education. Currently working on a doctorate in Education Technology.” Family: “My family is originally from Hatch. I’m married and have two children. My daughter goes to Los Lunas High School, she’s a freshman. Her name is Nadine King. My son is going into eighth-grade at Los Lunas Middle School. His name is Pablo King. My husband works for the Los Lunas Police Department, Otto King. How long have you been teaching? “I think I started in 2002 with UNM, as a teaching assistant, teaching Spanish, and when I graduated, I started working for UNM-Valencia Campus, and at CNM, again teaching Spanish. Shortly after getting my second master’s I started teaching elementary in 2007. I really like it.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I think that I started off teaching Spanish because I had lost my Spanish, and I had to regain it. I wanted to share my knowledge with people. I started volunteering at the elementary, here actually, when my kids started here, and I got to see how much teachers are needed, and that really inspired me. Especially bilingual. I did see there was a lot of need for bilingual teachers. I think I understand these children a lot, because I grew up that way; at home we spoke Spanish, at school we spoke English. I faced a lot of the challenges the kids do here. If there’s material that goes home in English, or higher level math, my parents had a hard time helping me. I try to work with my kids here in the classroom as much as I can, and even talk to the parents and let them know what kind of work we’re doing in the classroom, and how it’s taught, so they can help at home. “You have some of those kids who excel in both Spanish and English, and you see some of those kids who were taken out of the program and then brought back in, or went to Mexico and then came back, where they get a language confusion. They really struggle a lot. So, the bilingual program is really a great program for them, because they’re learning the two languages simultaneously. We really need bilingual teachers, especially here in New Mexico.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “I think just watching the kids grow academically, mature. Just to see how their eyes twinkle when they learn a new concept. It’s just a good feeling to see how their little brains are working, and how they’re soaking up the curriculum. Seeing them develop. At the end of the year, when you reflect on how much they’re grown, that really does it for me.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I think one of my favorite classroom memories was when I had been out sick for a couple of days, and I came out to recess duty in the morning. Just having all of my kids come up to me, hug me, and let me know that they missed me. It’s nice to see that we have that relationship where they’re excited to see me.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “The science-bilingual technique. I’ve learned through my four years of teaching here, and the years I’ve taught at college, that treating people with respect really brings about good results. I’ve had some really tough kids turn around and really surprise me, but I try to hear them when they’re frustrated. I try to be patient, and always model respect. I would say, 99 percent of the time, I get respect back. I try to teach respect above everything.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I like to tell kids to believe in themselves, especially the kids that have low self-esteem. You just have to convince them that they are smarter than they think they are.” What is your most touching student memory? “I had one student this year who came in — I’ve taught this particular class two years, I was teaching third, fourth last year — and he came in with very low self-esteem, and somewhere along the way he scored very well on a test, and he realized himself, ‘I can do this.’ I try to push that on kids, you know, you can do this. Keep trying. Sometimes their biggest enemy is themselves.”
Raymond Gabaldon Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Academic coach for kindergarten to sixth grade. Education: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and master’s in Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies from the University of New Mexico. Family: Husband, Art, and three children. How long have you been teaching? 11 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I always wanted to be a teacher since I was young. School was hard for me. But I have had a lot of good teachers. I wanted to give back what they gave me.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “To be able to inspire students.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I had a girl that never spoke in kindergarten and first grade. This year, she had the courage to raise her hand and read for me in English.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I use a lot of techniques. But you have to have classroom management in order to have success.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Modifying my teaching techniques to continue to meet their needs.” What is your most touching student memory? “(This year) students didn’t know who I was, and I had to gain their trust.”
“School was hard for me. But I had a lot of good teachers.”
JENNIFER GAERLAN Raymond Gabaldon Elementary School
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May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 5
Sundance Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Third grade. Education: B.A. in Elementary Education, University of Northern Iowa; minor in German. Family: Husband, Mike; one daughter, Barbara; one son, Zachary. How long have you been teaching? 27 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I adored my fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, who was strict but inspiring.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “That ‘aha’ moment students have, and the way they are all special and unique.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “A student who was so pleased with a fourth-grade test the year after being my student, who brought the results to show me. It made me cry.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Infuse a little humor, vary the teaching methods, and be hands-on when needed.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I try to model the fact that I love to learn. I try to connect lessons to the real world.” What is your most touching student memory? “Whenever a former student invites me to a high school graduation.”
Belen Family School
Grade or subject taught: First and second grades. Education: B.S. in Education, University of New Mexico; M.A. in Biblical Studies. Family: Married, five children, nine grandchildren. How long have you been teaching? “This is my 17th year.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I’ve always wanted to teach, from the moment I taught my dolls and family dogs when I was a young child.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “There are so many things.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “Moving our school to Rio Communities. The classrooms are brighter, and the noisy heaters and air conditioning at the old building weren’t nearly as conducive as this environment.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Keeping on a very tight schedule, so the kids know what’s coming. Kids like routine. It’s what makes a special day so exciting for them.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Find what interests them, especially in reading and writing, and what genres they’re really into at the time.” What is your most touching student memory? “During an out-loud reading exercise, a student was asked to point to each word on the page. I noticed the child was trying to contort their fingers to touch all the page’s words at the same time. It was an electrifying lesson to me in really considering what we say when talking to children.”
La Promesa Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Academic support teacher for reading and math. Education: Masters in Education Family: Husband, Bud, son, daughter. How long have you been teaching? 16 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “One of my decisions to become a teacher stemmed from teaching at a vacation Bible school. One of the parents said, ‘Where do you teach?’ I hadn’t even thought about being a teacher yet, but I think God gave me talents to be a teacher somewhere along the way. And when I decided to become a teacher, it became very easy. I believe I fell into the career, I don’t think I actually chose it.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “I believe in giving it all so that a child can grow, and I mean every child. I do believe in the presence of No Child Left Behind. In that aspect I think that it’s imperative to find whatever avenue it takes to help every child grow.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “My most memorable classroom moment stems from a year when I taught with another fourth-grade teacher. We team taught. We combined our fourth-grade classes into one great big class of 40 children. We had two classrooms right next to each other. When one of us was out, those kids never missed a beat. They were on it every single time. That credits a lot to the phenomenal scores we had at the end of the year. I would say that year was my most memorable time.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “There’s a phenomenal strategy called Baldridge. You give students the power. ‘Here’s the goal, how are we going to reach the goal.’ I believe in building classroom routine that way, classroom rules. Students have their own say so in how they learn. They live for that. I can’t say enough about how Baldridge has changed the way I think about setting up a classroom.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “When you give them ownership of their own learning. Children sign a mission statement at the beginning of the year that they helped create. It stays up in the classroom all year long. So if something happens, if someone breaks the mission statement, a type of classroom government takes over where I’m not the heavy. Their own peers help guide them. There’s something about peer persuasion that’s far more effective than an adult saying something.” What is your most touching student memory? “I don’t know if I can choose one. If I talk about this special memory, then I’m leaving out that one. Every teacher has students that they will never forget. I just wish every child had the right kind of home life to make them ready for school.”
“I taught my dolls and family dogs when I was a young child.”
SUSAN HAYES Belen Family School
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6 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
Gil Sanchez Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Fifthand sixth-grade loop (Fifth in 2010-11; will follow class to sixth for 2011-12). Education: B.A. in Education, University of New Mexico. Family: Married, two sons, Jacob and Luc. How long have you been teaching? “This was my 17th year.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “My grandmother and others in my family were teachers, so I just sort of fell into it.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When the students ‘get it’, and feel good about it.” What is your favorite classroom memory? ”When former students got to go to the New Mexico Legislature and receive an award for great gains in science.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “A sense of humor. Sometimes, we just have to laugh, I guess. We need to lighten the mood.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Give them opportunities to be successful. A pat on the back feels so good sometimes. And it’s neat to do different things, like go on field trips.” What is your most touching student memory? ”Whenever I’m invited to a former student’s high school graduation, or I see a someone, like in Walmart, and they give me a hug and tell me how they’re doing.”
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Daniel Fernandez Elementary School
Grade of subject taught: Third grade. Education: LLHS, 1984. College of Santa Fe in Albuquerque, 2000. Family: Father, Orlando Tapia of Tome; mother, Dorothy Tapia-Otero of Belen; daughter, Alexis Perea, and grandson, Noah Abril; and sons, Derek and Damian Perea. How long have you been teaching? 12 years. Ann Parish for 10 years and Daniel Fernandez for two. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “When my kids were little I started working for the schools so that I could be working when they were in school and off when they were off. Once I got into the schools, I worked with some really great teachers and they inspired me to go on and get my degree.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When I’m just having fun with the kids, I like to have fun with them, and when they’re learning and having fun that brings me joy.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I think it would have to be when I was in kindergarten and I remember always having pets, so my favorite memory of school is being a little small child in kindergarten and always being the one that was able to take care of the pets.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “We do a lot of hands-on stuff, get in there and do. Moving and feeling. Kids need to move and kids need to manipulate things. I try not to leave them at their desk very long, they need to move around.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I try to inspire them by making connections. If we’re reading something and I have something at home or something that will connect with what we’re reading, I try to find ways to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to other things that they might know and things that might be outside of the classroom.” What is your most touching student memory? “I had this one student and he was very serious and we had field day. We were going to have a water fight and he said, ‘You know, Mrs. Kline, I don’t really like to get wet.’ So I told him he could stay on the outskirts. Then the battle started and before you know it, I was in the middle getting everybody because they all wanted to get me. ... I turn around and there he is, standing right there and he’s soaked from head to toe. And I told him, ‘Wait a minute. What happened?’ and he was like ‘I don’t know.’ He was worse than everybody, right in the middle of it all. I will never forget him because he was so cute. It was really touching that he just couldn’t resist when he saw us all having fun, he was in it 120 percent. It was the funniest thing.”
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May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 7
La Merced Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Kindergarten. Education: Bachelor’s in French,; master’s in Multicultural Education; specialist in administration; certificate in early childhood; bilingual certification. Family: Married 27 years. Husband, John, one daughter and a grandson. How long have you been teaching? 35 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I was an instructional assistant in a school in California, and up to that point I wanted to teach French at the high school. But I was working with first-graders, and I just fell in love with the process and the enthusiasm that little kids have with learning.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “It’s those teaching moments. That’s what turns me on. It’s like you practice with them, you introduce a concept, and you work with them and all of a sudden — ‘I can do this.’ They get so excited. What is your favorite classroom memory? “Jacob was a student I had maybe 26 years ago. He said, ‘Mrs. Lambert, I have been waiting for this moment all year long.’ And I looked at him and I said, ‘Exactly what do you mean?’ And he says, ‘I’ve been waiting to learn to read.’ A little 5-year-old. He had been told that by coming to school he would learn to read. And that moment finally arrived. He had been waiting for it all year long.“ What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I use everything if it works. And I love the new technology. This new technology that they got us three years ago has a computer, overhead document camera and the projector. If the kids are doing a worksheet, you can do it with them, get them to give you the answers, and they can come up and write them. They not only get to hear it, but get to see it. This would be after you do some instruction to explain what is going to be happening.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “A lot of students in kindergarten come in and say,’I can’t.’ From the day they walk in, I keep telling them why they are here, to learn to read and write. And I ask them, ‘What does your dad do?’ And they tell me, and I explain to them how their parents use their reading in their occupations. We bring that up many, many times during the first part of the year so they understand why they need to learn to read and write.” What is your most touching student memory? “It happens every year when you teach kindergarten at the very end of the year, the last month of the year, when you have a whole group of kids and they’re all reading. I want to cry because it’s just like a miracle. It’s been what you’ve been working for all year long.”
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Los Lunas Middle School
Grade or subject taught: Special Education Inclusion Teacher at the middle school level. Co-teach with a regular education teacher in seventhand eighth-grade math classes. Education: Bachelors of science in education and masters of arts in education from the University of New Mexico. Certified as a regular and special education teacher. Family: Married 35 years. Husband, Charlie. Four daughters. How long have you been teaching? Working on year 30. Retired in 2000 after 26 years; returned 2008. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I was inspired to become a special education teacher when I was in middle school. I had the opportunity to assist college students who were working with special education students. It appeared to me to be a rewarding and challenging career choice. I have worked in both regular and special education classrooms. Each has its own unique challenges and rewards. Having worn both hats gives me a helpful perspective to my teaching.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Those moments when you see students interested and excited with a particular lesson or activity you n See Josephine Maez, Page 10
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8 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
Belen Teacher of The Year
Belen High School
By Brent ruffner
News-Bulletin Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Rivera likes helping kids. This week, Rivera was honored for her work as director of the Belen High School Graduation Reality And Dual-Role Skills as she was named 2010-11 Belen district Teacher of the Year. Rivera has worked with teen parents as part of the GRADS Program and says her goal is to teach teens how to care for their children and balance the day-to-day pressures of being a high school student. GRADS is part of a statewide program that teaches child development classes to teens at the school and is funded by a renewable grant. The New Mexico State University graduate helped start the program almost 20 years ago after it was discovered there was a growing need to help teen parents. “At the time, Valencia County was number three in the state in teen pregnancy,” Rivera said. Now, Rivera said, teen parents have a place to go for help. She said enrollment numbers have remained steady over the years because most students realize the importance of graduation. She said she helps take care of babies six weeks to two years, and said she hopes to teach students how to overcome obstacles. She said some teens handle a juggling act that includes being a parent, holding a job and going to school. “We teach them better skills,” Rivera said. “Not only for caring for them, but when they get older they will be a better parent. The most important thing is that they learn what to do for their child.”
Rivera said the program allows students to be in a teacher role while they are going to school. She said she wants students to overcome their problems to be able to walk the line with a cap and gown. “Some kids drop out and there’s no need to drop out,” Rivera said. “We want to guide them to graduation day.” The director said she has had support from other teachers and administrators throughout her time at the school. She currently works with two educational assistants. In March, the school hosted three assemblies with the help of the New Mexico Teen Pregnancy Coalition to educate teens on the risks of premarital sex, and to help curb the growing problem of teen pregnancy. The assemblies were for sophomore, junior and senior classes. Rivera said she plays a mentorship role rather than beating home the point over and over again. She said she teaches students to move on with their lives after the pregnancy ― not to treat it as a stumbling block. “I’m a parent,” Rivera said. “Preaching doesn’t work. They have to know they have someone to come to. We have to show them options. They have to make the choices.” Rivera said she is “humbled” by her award and said she owes a lot of gratitude to her family and the school staff for supporting her and her students for nearly two decades. She said she hopes to expand her program to a permanent building to serve more students, and says she plans to continue to help students overcome obstacles. “It’s a roller coaster job,” Rivera said. “But it’s an awesome job. But when (students) are successful, you feel really good.”
Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo
BELEN HIGH SCHOOL teacher Rebecca Rivera stands in front of the school’s logo on a recent school day. Rivera, director of the Belen High School Graduation Reality And Dual-Role Skills, was named the 2011 district Teacher of the Year.
Los Lunas Teacher of The Year
May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 9
Desert View Elementary
By Julia M. DenDinger
News-Bulletin Staff Writer email@example.com
Catherine Moya’s brothers and sister often found themselves trapped inside on summer days, humoring the sibling who always knew she was going to be a teacher. “I always knew,” Moya said. “I love learning and I like learning with my students. As a teacher you have to be excited so the kids will follow.” Moya’s love of learning has kept her in the teaching profession for close to 20 years now. And on top of her many other accolades, she was named the 2010-11 district Teacher of the Year for Los Lunas Schools. Before she became a teacher, Moya worked as an instructor at several museums, putting her anthropology degree to good use. Moya attended the University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology, a post-bachelor’s in elementary education and a master’s, with a focus in science and math education. Through a Los Lunas School District program, Moya was able to earn her Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or TESOL, endorsement. “And that doesn’t mean just Spanish speaking students. It’s for students who speak everything from Korean to Arabic,” she said. Moya teaches fourth grade at Desert View Elementary School, but she has taught kindergarten, first, second, fifth and sixth grades. “I really like fourth grade. They are young enough they want to please all their teachers and they are really into learning,” she said. Moya started teaching for the district in 1992, at Raymond Gabaldon Elementary. She has also taught at Los Lunas Elementary School before coming to Desert View Elementary.
Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo
LOS LUNAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR Catherine Moya is able to bring her love of science and learning into her fourth-grade classroom thanks to two stuffed birds.
She has been teaching at Desert View for eight years. “These last eight years here have been the most inspiring and fulfilling of my career,” Moya said. She spoke highly of her fourth-grade learning team teacher, Tonja Otero. “This has been a time of professional challenge and growth, a time of learning and gaining a new perspective on learning and teaching,” she said. Her greatest joy comes from just being in the classroom, Moya said. “You have these great teaching moments that just develop into something you didn’t plan,” she said. “And that is wonderful. What they learn about, what they talk about, the look in their eyes.”
With so many years of experience, Moya said she has many wonderful memories of her time in the classroom. And with that time, she has learned what make for a good learning environment. “We work in groups together. The more they talk, the more ideas and thoughts are generated,” Moya said. “I do a lot of hands-on, manipulative, problem-solving work.” Moya has been happily married for 34 years to John, a member of the nursing staff at the VA hospital in Albuquerque. They have two children, a son, Aaron and a daughter, Lauren. Moya has been honored with citations from the New Mexico Public Education Board, New Mexico
Science Teachers Association, the University of New Mexico and the National Science Foundation. She was also awarded a Horace Mann Crystal Apple Award. In 1999, she was recognized as the New Mexico and National Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching. Moya was invited to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2000 for a week’s participation at the National Science Foundation Awards Celebration, along with 125 other awardees from around the United States and U.S. Territories. “It was a great privilege to be associated with such a prestigious group of educators,” she said.
10 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
from PAGE 7
form made the hard work worthwhile.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “In my work as a special ed inclusion teacher I am tasked with making the grade level content accessible to my students. I use various strategies or techniques. I break down big concepts into smaller bits and scaffold instructions to facilitate learning. It gives intense support at the start of learning a new concept in the form of graphic organizers, modeling, reference sheets, and activating prior knowledge. The intensity of the support lessens as the student gains skills and confidence. All students learn differently and at different rates so the level of support varies from student to student.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “By always striving to provide well-thought-out lessons based on the research of best practices. I let students know that I believe in their ability to learn. I try to remain positive and to provide structure and support as needed and try to instill a sense of responsibility in my students.”
have planned for them. I love those times when students are involved and working collaboratively to complete a task. Students learn when they have to explain their thinking when they are helping each other. It is then that students have taken ownership of their learning and the teacher’s role is to facilitate.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “One of my favorites is the hectic fun and hard work of putting on musical Christmas plays with other third-grade teachers. For several years it was a much anticipated event. You can imagine that organizing 100 8- and 9-year olds into a musical production would lead to many hilarious, frantic, and touching moments. I remember staying late one night sewing and decorating about 40 poodle skirts. The sewing machine was going non-stop, we were ironing on appliqués, and gluing on pom poms to poodle tails when our iron shorted out with a pop. We had to finish the job with a tiny laminating iron. The proud looks on the parent’s faces as they watched their child per-
Belen Middle School
Grade or subject taught: Seventhgrade science and eighth-grade talented and gifted students. Education: Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and master’s in Reading from the University of New Mexico. How long have you been teaching? 14 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I had an interest in science. Through my studies and coursework, I kind of leaned toward teaching.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “I like to see kids make their own path and see where they are going.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “This year, one of my students came back ... He had graduated and was about to deploy and had come to tell me would use the G.I. Bill to study biology.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “You have to spark their interest and find that thing that is going to pull them in.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “What I am interested in is (students) learning to think. Because when you become your own thinker, you are in charge of your own experiences and in charge of your own learning.” What is your most touching student memory? “Every year you have some kids that will stick out or they have that accomplishment or that moment where they kind of step up and take ownership of (their education).”
“... when you become your own thinker, you are in charge of your own experiences ...”
KENDA MEATHENIA Belen Middle School
Century High School
Grade or subject taught: Special Education/Language Arts, and IEP Facilitator. Education: UNM, B.A. in Education-Special Ed K-12, B.A. in Education-Regular Ed K-8. Family: Husband, Joe Perkins; son J.J. March, 18; daughter, Zoi Perkins, 4. How long have you been teaching? 11 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I wanted to help people. Teaching isn’t a career, it’s an adventure, and I love it.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Everyday is a joyful surprise. I have 15-20 students walk into my classroom, and with them they bring different personalities, behaviors, and life experiences.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “When I was teaching a Special Ed math class at the high school level. I had stayed up the night before trying to figure out how to get the kids to understand factoring. The next day, after we had been working for 50 minutes, one of them stands up and shouts out, ‘I got it! I got it!’ The next time this student tested on the MAP test he was so excited that he could answer the factoring questions.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I think what works most with high school kids is listening to them. They need a safe place to vent and have their voices heard. The kids tell me, ‘Ms. March, you listen to what we say. You may not be able to help us but you at least let us talk.’” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Kids want to please people they respect and enjoy spending time with. Kids aren’t bad, they make bad choices. Reminding students that they can do anything that they put their minds to is the best motivation for bettering themselves.” What is your most touching student memory? “The one student memory I hold close to my heart is when one of my students asked me to attend the senior robing ceremony and sit with he and his parents. When it came time for the parents to stand and robe the student, this student and Mom asked me if I would robe him. This was a special day and a very special moment.”
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May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 11
Manzano Vista Middle School
Grade or subject taught: Seventhgrade life science. Education: University of New Mexico, college of education. Family: Married, three grown children and seven grandchildren. How long have you been teaching? Two years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I didn’t choose teaching, it chose me. It was one of those things where I felt I never made a decision. It was like it grabbed me and everything fell into place. It just happened. It was just amazing. I made a career change. I was an administrative assistant and retired from that to take care of my pregnant daughter. When my granddaughter started school, I started volunteering. I saw the tremendous work the teacher did. At the insistence of a school secretary, I started subbing. I did a couple of long-term stints and didn’t want to give the children back. I was standing on the playground one day talking with one of the teachers and I said, ‘If I was younger I’d go back to school because I love this.’ And she said, ‘You’re not too old, go.’” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Seeing their eyes light up when they get it. That is worth everything. When it happens, it’s very exciting because it surprises them how excited they get. When they grasp a concept, it’s like, Wow. And I love that.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “One of my funniest classroom memories was when I was longterm subbing for a first-second (grade) combo. I would eat with the kids. We all went to the cafeteria and ate, and when we went back to the classroom, within an hour seven of the kids had thrown up. I was horrified. It was funny and horrific and I didn’t know what to do. Nobody wanted to go to the nurse, they wanted to stay in the classroom. When I see those kids in that class, we always talk about it — do you remember that day?” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the n See Barbara Moreno, Page 12
Bosque Farms Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Fourth grade, all subjects. Education: Bachelor’s in Education, with a minor in science, and an ESL endorsement. Family: Husband, Lochlin Page, an engineer who just got his associates degree and was valedictorian at UNM-VC this year. Son, Chris, 26, and daughter, Colleen, 25. How long have you been teaching? Fourth year at Bosque Farms, after eight years at Ann Parish Elementary. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “My kids were going to Bosque Farms Elementary, and I was PTC president, and I used to go to my kids classroom and help out. I started thinking, if I’m going to do this, I might as well go back to school. At that point they asked me to sub one day. I thought this isn’t bad, and I decided to go back to school.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When you see somebody struggling with something, and you work with them, and you work with them, and then that light goes on. I struggled in elementary school, so it’s nice to see you can help someone. There’s something about that smile when they finally get it. There’s nothing better.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “When we became a Blue Ribbon school. That was quite an honor. Staff and students worked very hard for it. It was earned. It took the whole school.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “All kinds. There is no one strategy, because every kid learns differently. You have to try all different ways. Some times you can use kids to help other kids. Some times they can explain a strategy to each other. There’s just multiple ways.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “Every day inspires me, because every day I learn something from these kids. You have to allow kids to experience their learning, and try n See Joanne Page, Page 12
The Los Lunas Schools Board of Education Congratulates
Teacher of the Year
“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” ~Author Unknown
12 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
Rio Grande Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Third grade. Education: Graduated from UNM, summa cum laude, B.S. in Education. Family: “Husband, Douglas, is my best fan..” How long have you been teaching? 16 years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “Because I wanted to make a difference in my community, and I felt teaching would be the best avenue through which I could accomplish that goal.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “When I see the growth through the year in my students. Another joy is when I hear a student say, ‘I want to be a teacher when I grow up.’” What is your favorite classroom memory? “My mother-in-law would come in and help students in my classroom several times a week. One day one of my little boys was mesmerized with the skin on her neck and completely oblivious to what she was teaching him. Finally, with childish candor he said, ‘Ms. Hansen, why doesn’t your skin stick to your bones?’ To which she replied, ‘Sonny, when you get to be my age, your skin won’t stick to your bones either.’ I had to turn away to conceal my laughter.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “There is really not just one technique that works best with students as they come with a variety of learning styles. However, whenever I can make learning fun, magic happens.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I encourage and recognize them for their accomplishments. For students who are reticent, I quietly encourage and acknowledge even the smallest of accomplishments.” What is your most touching student memory? “The first year I was teaching kindergarten, one of my students looked up to me and asked, ‘Ms. Rupp, is your husband in prison?’ I said, ‘No, why?’ To which he replied, ‘My dad is.’ I went home that night and wept. This taught me to always look at my students with compassion as I do not know what they may be going home to at the end of each day. It also taught me that my classroom must be one place where a child feels secure and loved, as then and only then, can I ‘teach.’”
from PAGE 11 best? “I think that there’s a number of different strategies. The goal is to have 100 percent of your kids engaged at one time, and if you can figure out a strategy to do that it’s just wonderful. One of them is using individual white boards and markers for the kids. And when we review, each one writes the answer down and then holds them up. And you get 100 percent participation. The kids love that.” How do you inspire your students to learn? I don’t know. I like my kids. I heard (another teacher) saying once, ‘They don’t care how much you know until they know that you care.’ I connect with my kids. I think they know I care. I have their respect.” What is your most touching stu-
dent memory? I had a student last year who had so many issues, so many problems. She was a challenge. You could never predict her behavior. She would have all kinds of bizarre behaviors. I tried to make her work, and she blew up on me. She was suspended for a while. She was just such a challenge. One day she came to school and she was sick. She had a cold. I gave her a lozenge and I said, ‘See if this will help.’ That small thing that I did was all it took. From then on, she really started trying. Just that little bitty gesture of kindness changed her. She wrote me this letter at Christmas saying, ‘I’m sorry I’ve caused you so many problems, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.’ I’ve still got that letter.”
from PAGE 11 to make it fun. Some of these kids are very, very sharp. You learn something all the time. They’re amazing, and that’s what gets me. Some times kids put teachers on pedestals. It’s good when they see you’re human, and see that we make mistakes, too.” What is your most touching student memory? “My first year teaching, I had this little boy who was in and
out of foster care, and he was in and out of our school. But in third grade, he came back, and he was with one of my co-workers. He told her that he wished I was his mom. We made some kind of personal connection, and he wished I was his mom. That little guy still holds a place in my heart, and I hope that he’s okay.”
Los Lunas Elementary School
dence, but these students took over and did that themselves, helping build each other’s confidence.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I always try to notice the things that kids have as a strength, not necessarily academic, and encourage those strengths.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I tell them what a particular topic means for the future, how learning it now will help them later in life. I use real-life examples of how that will help them, even as an adult.” What is your most touching student memory? “I had a little boy who for almost all the first semester didn’t talk to the other kids or socialize with them. He’d barely talk in class. After a lot of development on my part — working on his strengths again — one day I suddenly found him playing with the most popular kid in the class. They were playing quietly and just talking to each other, and he just grew from there.”
Congratulations to all our outstanding teachers
Grade or subject taught: Fourth grade.. Education: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and master’s degree in Education, UNM. Family: Two sons, a seventh-grader and a second-grader next school year. How long have you been teaching? 21 years, 6 in Los Lunas. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “It had a lot to do with my own schooling. I felt I could reach kids at a deeper level.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Working with kids who come from difficult backgrounds, backgrounds that make learning harder for them. I get to watch them grow, not just academically, but personally, and get a sense of themselves.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “My (students) this year became very close. They encouraged each other when preparing for (the state required assessment test) ... Usually it’s the teacher’s job to work on encouraging them and building up their confi-
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May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 13
Dennis Chavez Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: K-6 music. Education: B.A. in Music Education from Highlands University. Family: Husband, Bob Montoya, owns Long’s Saddlery. Son, Sam, 4. How long have you been teaching? Taught several years in Espanola and Albuquerque. Out of teaching 10 years. Returned the past three years. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. I think that was instilled in me by my grandfather, because he was such a great teacher ... and I just wanted to emulate that. It wasn’t until high school that I knew I wanted to teach music.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Students’ faces. Whenever they’re making music, whenever they have their hands on an instrument, it doesn’t matter the sound that’s coming out, just to see the utter joy on their faces.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “The classroom itself is a reward for most of them. ... there’s only 12 (music) stations, and there’s always about 24 kids in each class, but man, when those kids know their behavior (in the outer classroom) is going to determine whether they get to come in here (music station), they’re like angels.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I discuss with them, at every level, what the traits are for success. So, if they’re good listeners, if they’re following directions, these are going to carry them through their whole life.” What is your most touching student memory? “The first graders have been learning songs about different animals. I had them dramatize ‘Six Little Ducks.’ ... each riser (two-tiered stands in the classroom) performed as a team and gets the floor while the other kids stand up and sing. And this one little boy just was so into it. He really looked like a duck. You could just imagine his feathers ruffling up. He was just so involved in being a duck, and for his own enjoyment. He wasn’t being a clown, he wasn’t trying to make anybody laugh. He was just in his own world as that little duck.”
Los Lunas High School
Grade or subject taught: Ninth through 12th grade physics, AP physics and forensic science. Education: 1989 LLHS graduate. B.S. in astrophysics and math, UNM. Family: Married 18 years. Wife, Melissa. Son, Josh, 18. How long have you been teaching? Five years, all at LLHS. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I didn’t originally. I started off in computers, which led to a networking position at Sud Chemie. At the same time, I was working on degrees in astrophysics and math. After I graduated, I was trying to figure out what to do with the astrophysics degree when I saw an ad for a physics teacher at Los Lunas High. I applied and got the job. I went through the Transition to Teaching program and got my license.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Making a difference in kids’ lives and promoting an interest in the sciences. I get great satisfaction every time I hear a student say they didn’t like science, but now they do.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “Most of my memories are good memories. There are so many good ones, I can’t pick one that stands above all others.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I’m very dynamic in the classroom. I’m not afraid of making a fool of myself, and students seem to respond to that. I also inflate technology. I make heavy use of technology.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I try to keep lessons interesting and relevant. I try to use realworld examples they can identify with. And, of course, for forensic science I have millions of TV shows to help me.” What is your most touching student memory? “I’ve had several students tell me that after taking my class they want to pursue a career in physics. I find that touching. I take that as a serious compliment.”
Katherine Gallegos Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Sixth grade. Education: LLHS graduate. UNM, bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Math; masters’ in Language and History. Family: Husband, David M. Sanchez. How long have you been teaching? “This is my 11th year teaching. I have been at Daniel Fernandez Intermediate for seven years and at Katherine Gallegos Elementary before that.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “As a young child, I remember I always wanted to be a teacher. I think I decided to be a teacher in second grade.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Seeing students down the road, succeeding. When you reach someone and don’t realize it until much later.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I remember one day when everyone was just in synch during a lesson. It was almost like time stopped. You could just see the switches flipping. And what made it even more gratifying is an adult overheard the lesson and asked if he could have the handouts I’d used.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Group work is really helpful. They can do their reading and talk about the book. They rely on each other and work together.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “By being present myself. If I’m excited, they get excited. If I come in saying, ‘You’re going to love this,’ then it’s much easier to get them excited.” What is your most touching student memory? “The first-grade class I had when I started teaching, I had 11 of them in my-sixth grade class. Just seeing the progress, we had that camaraderie. And knowing how far they’d come.”
Congratulations to the outstanding teachers of Belen and Los Lunas Public Schools
Could anything be more important than guiding the next generation? UNM-Valencia applauds you for a job well done!
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14 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
Valencia High School
Grade or subject taught: Counselor, ninth and 10th grade; assist with AVID program; advanced placement teacher. Education: B.S. in Child Psychology; master’s degree in Secondary School Counseling, University of Minnesota. How long have you been a counselor? 20 years, third At VHS Why did you choose counseling as a career? “Both my parents were teachers and I’ve always been interested in education. My grandmothers on both sides taught in one-room schools, and my greatgrandfather was a superintendent, People told me I would be good at counseling since I’m more of a listener than a talker.” What brings you the most joy in counseling? “I have had a tremendous amount of (joy) with the students. In any community, and it’s especially true in schools, there is a real sense of collaboration. It’s the part I like most.” What is your favorite memory? “Probably working with students as a counselor. There can be some pretty down times for them, but seeing them turn things around, come through to the other side and be happy and healthy.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I do a lot of work with the Next Step Plan and AVID to help them set goals and come up with a plan. I have a lot of meetings that involve students, parents and teachers, and we all come together to set goals and help the student figure out what they really want. It is always a team effort.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I help them look at what they are going to do after high school. New Mexico has some great opportunities, like the lottery scholarships. And if they don’t want to go to college, then there are always programs like Job Corps. I encourage them to learn as much as they can. Having the right skills will make everything so much easier.” What is your most touching student memory? “I had a student use my name on an application for a scholarship once as the person who had ‘helped them the most.’ All I did was listen to him. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.”
Elizabeth von Toll
Central Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade Reading and Language Arts. Education: “I have a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in learning technologies — that’s out of New Mexico State — which helps explain the name of the program I teach here called TEL, which stands for Technology Enhanced Learning. And I provide what’s called a Tier 2 reading intervention for struggling readers.” Family: “My (late) husband’s family brought me to Belen in ‘96 ... His grandfather and great-grandfather were both physicians in this town, and I stayed since then ... My present husband works at Los Lunas High School.” How long have you been teaching? 16 years, 14 of those at Central Elementary. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “My undergraduate degree was in human services, social work and counseling, that kind of thing, and I worked with some troubled kids. I realized, really it was a matter of education, and that kind of got me in that direction, why I went back to school, and got a post-graduate teaching credential, when I thought, really what I’m doing is teaching, so why not teach in the largest institution in the country.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Seeing the ‘aha’ with students. When they get it, but I really love to see them feel inspired, when the creativity kicks in, and they do their own thing with it. That’s what I find most rewarding, not when they’re just reciting answers, but when they do something with it, the skills and knowledge. When they can own it.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I was teaching fifth-grade, and we were having a class discussion, and a student grabbed his head and raises his hand, and he goes, ‘Ow, ow, ow, I’ve got an idea.’ The act of thinking and having an idea, ‘Ow my head; I have an idea.’ That just struck me as funny. He had a new thought.” n See Elizabeth von Toll, Page 15
Valencia Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: All subjects in first and second-grade combo classes, plus math intervention. “Mostly math.” Education: Bachelor’s of science in Elementary Education.” Family: Originally from Arizona. Moved here about six years ago. Husband, Michael. Blended family with three seniors who graduated from Belen High School this year, Dean, Marrina and Saxton. She has a 19-yearold son, Jonathon, who just finished his first year of college, and a 14-year-old son, Marcus. How long have you been teaching? 11 years, four at Valencia Elementary. Why did you choose teaching as a career? “Children are easy to help, easy to care about, and they’re fun, After my first year teaching, I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do it.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Their progress.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “I had one student this year who didn’t know the difference between letters and numbers.” She gave him crayons to teach him letters and math. “I gave him four crayons, and I gave him a paper that said, ‘Color the short ones blue and the long ones orange.’ It took him 15 minutes, but he found, out of those four crayons with the brand names, little letters and little words ... He had been really behind, but he found it was something he could do.” When he had his eureka moment with the color orange, he called out in excitement. His excitement caught up the other students, who became excited with him. “The other kids were saying, ‘Oh wow, good job. Good for you.’ Just those little moments, this is what brings me joy.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Peer pressure, in a positive way, You know, like, ‘I like the way so-and-so is doing such-and-such. Using positive student behavior to inspire and acknowln See Gina Sproule, Page 15
congratulations to all the teacher of the year participants!
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May 28, 2011 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2011 Teacher Awards • 15
Peralta Elementary School
Grade or subject taught: Physical Education.. Education: Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a master’s degree in Elementary Education. Family: Married for 30 years to her husband, Spencer. How long have you been teaching? “Since 1985.” Why did you choose teaching as a career? “I just love working with kids. My mom was a P.E. teacher for 23 years in the district.” What brings you the most joy in teaching? “Being a part of the community and seeing the kids I teach everyday.” What is your favorite classroom memory? “Getting my gym. It used to be a tractor shop until the district purchased it in 1988.” What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “I have my whistle.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I like to keep kids active.” What is your most touching student memory? “Teaching a student who became a well-respected teacher and member of the community.”
Teachers of the Year by school
BELEN Belen High School — Rebecca Rivera (District Teacher of the Year) Belen Middle School — Kenda Meathenia Central Elementary — Elizabeth von Toll Dennis Chavez Elementary — Anna Julia Sanchez Family School — Susan Hayes Gil Sanchez Elementary — Adrienne Jaramillo H.T. Jaramillo Community School — Angela A. Campbell Infinity High School — Bonnie Dodge La Merced Elementary — Patsy Lambert La Promesa Elementary — Lena Herrera Rio Grande Elementary — Karen Rupp
from PAGE 14 edge positive behaviors in others.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “I get excited about it. Sometimes I’ll tell them, ‘This is something the big kids do, multiplication. Let me show you.’ Just something to get them excited about it.” What is your most touching student memory? “Every month I teach the kids about someone who has made the world a better place. This little girl, it was February, and I was teaching about Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.), and she said something that just made me realize that she understood it on a deeper level. There was a Valentine with a picture of cupid on it, and she asked, ‘What is that cupid?’ I
told her, a long time ago in the olden days, there were people who believed he could make people love each other. He would just shoot people with his arrows, and then they would fall in love. She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, ’Well, but you can’t do that. Remember that Mr. King, he couldn’t make people love each other, because you can’t make people love you. You just have to teach them how to act right, and hope that they’ll be good and act right. Then they’ll love each other because they’ve got kindness in their hearts.’ And I thought, ‘Oh wow, you are so right.’ That was about three years ago, and it has stuck with me.”
LOS LUNAS Ann Parish Elementary — Soledad Garcia-King Bosque Farms Elementary — Joanne Page Valencia Elementary — Gina Sproule Century High School — Staci March Daniel Fernandez Elementary — Tabitha Kline Desert View Elementary — Catherine Moya (District Teacher of the Year) Katherine Gallegos Elementary — Claudine Sanchez Los Lunas Elementary — Stephanie Salazar-Gutierrez Los Lunas High School — Gino Santistevan Los Lunas Middle School — Josephine Maez Manzano Vista Middle School — Barbara Moreno Peralta Elementary — Ronita Wood Raymond Gabaldon Elementary — Jennifer Gaerlan Sundance Elementary — Peggy Hayes Tomé Elementary — Madeline L. Aragon Valencia High School — Peter Scherer CHARTER SCHOOL School of Dreams Academy — Eric Brown
Catherine Moya Desert View Elementary Certified Employee of the Year Los Lunas Sherri Fleischer Ann Parish Elementary Computer Lab Assistant Classified Employee of the Year Rebecca Rivera Belen High School District Teacher of the Year Belen Eric Brown Teacher of the Year School of Dreams Academy Los Lunas
from PAGE 14 What teaching aid or technique do you use that seems to work the best? “Multi-media. It lets students see it, do it, touch it, and that’s the technology enhancement.” How do you inspire your students to learn? “By being a learner myself. I love to learn. That’s why I went on to get a Ph.D. I want to learn as much as I can, and all I really learned is that, as much as you know, you realize the more you don’t know!” What is your most touching student memory? “I have one student in mind who I worked with as a fourthgrader (through sixth-grade), and I can distinctly remember at a parent conference talking with the parent, and them voicing their concerns about her reading. That it was just a struggle,
Elizabeth von Toll
that she was just not getting it, that it was difficult, there was no fluency, she can’t sound out the words. It’s just a painful struggle. It wasn’t that the parents weren’t involved. The parents were very involved. They read together. It was just difficult for them, and they were very worried. The test grades were below grade level. I remember this kid being so exceptional, just knowing it was going to come together. It was a little nerve-wracking because these parents were really trusting me. Each year there was a little improvement, and when she finished sixthgrade and went into seventh grade, she was reading above grade level, and was able to express that on assessments. So that was really rewarding. It was really wonderful to see her blossom.”
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16 • 2011 Teacher Awards• Valencia County News-Bulletin • May 28, 2011
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