Sixteen teachers from eight different communities across New Mexico are being recognized as finalists for the 2020 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Seven award recipients from this group will be selected through a rigorous process that includes site visits from selection committee members over the next several weeks.
“Teachers matter so much to our communities, and there are great ones working hard all across New Mexico,” Golden Apple Executive Director Brian O’Connell said in a statement. “The Golden Apple Award sends a profound message to teachers that their work is important and that the community appreciates them. We can’t wait to visit these schools and meet these incredible educators.”
This year 88 teachers were nominated from 26 different New Mexico cities and towns.
Recipients of the award receive several benefits, including induction into the Golden Apple Academy of Fellows, a generous professional development fund, and a cash prize, organizers said in a news release.
The finalists are:
Olivia Casaus, Cuba High
Jay Clack, Capital High in Santa Fe
Sherry Copeland, Hot Springs High School in Truth or Consequences
Shantel Dixon, Capital High in Santa Fe
Lisa Ehlers McCuller, Arrowhead Park Early College High and Medical Academy in Las Cruces
Lesha Harenberg, Eldorado High in Albuquerque
Stephanie Mitchell, Los Alamos High
Hope Montoya-Encinias, New Mexico Connections Academy
Carman Moon, Capital High in Santa Fe
Michael Nair, School on Wheels High in Albuquerque
Richard Pitman, Santa Fe High
Murray Ray, Las Cruces High
Elgenia “Jeanie” Stark, Del Norte High in Albuquerque
Elizabeth Tafoya, Moreno Valley High in Angel Fire
David Ubinger, Chaparral High in Chaparral
Unna Valdez, Sandia High in Albuquerque
The seven eventual awardees will be recognized at the Golden Apple Tribute to Teacher Excellence in Albuquerque on April 3, 2020.