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2020 New Mexico Teacher of the Year named

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mandi Torrez, a third-grade teacher at Placitas Elementary School, is the 2020 New Mexico Teacher of the Year.

State Public Education Department secretary-designate Ryan Stewart surprised Torrez with the award in front of students and colleagues.

“Ms. Torrez represents the direction education is taking in New Mexico,” Stewart said in a statement. “She is an educator focused on cultural responsiveness, inclusivity and equity.”

As teacher of the year, Torrez gets a one-year paid sabbatical, which is a first this year, and up to $10,000 in professional development. Torrez will be in the running for the National Teacher of the Year, too.

She’s been teaching for 10 years – eight at Placitas elementary – and is a member of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the National Education Association.

The former journalist emphasizes cultural diversity in her teaching, PED says. For instance, she is working on naming her school’s hallways after historical figures of color.

Teacher of the year is based on classroom performance and an application.

SCHOOLS, PROGRAM GET NEW HOME: This month, Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College celebrated the grand opening of the new Education Collaborative Building on CNM’s main campus.

The 80,000-square-foot facility is the new home of magnet school College and Career High School, charter Native American Community Academy and CNM’s Teacher Education and Early Childhood Multicultural Education programs.

It includes classrooms, science labs, a student health center, faculty spaces and an early childhood development suite.

It has 252 solar panels and the majority of the construction waste was recycled or diverted from landfills, according to APS.

The $35 million price tag for the project was split evenly between APS and CNM, according to a news release.

Shelby Perea: sperea@abqjournal.com

 

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