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White House gives award to local teacher

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union employees Shana Runck, left, Robin Brule, center, and Michelle Dearholt stand outside the White House

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union employees Shana Runck, left, Robin Brule, center, and Michelle Dearholt stand outside the White House. The White House on Monday awarded Runck a Latino Educator Champions of Change award, which is given to people who work to improve education in their community.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Shana Runck says her class on the financial services industry can show Albuquerque high school students a path toward a successful career.

The White House agrees.

On Monday, Runck was one of 10 recipients of the White House’s Latino Educator Champions of Change award, which is given to people across the nation who work to improve education in their community.

Runck was recognized for the class she teaches as part of the city of Albuquerque’s Running Start for Careers program. Teaching the class is one of Runck’s job duties as assistant vice president of community relations and financial capabilities for the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union.

“It’s an incredible award, but to me it’s really great to share the recognition with our entire collaboration,” Runck said, adding the Running Start program is a team effort between the Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College.

Under the program, which was started by Mayor Richard Berry, high school sophomores, juniors and seniors earn dual-credit hours toward graduation while taking classes that focus on work skills and on-the-job training in high-demand industries.

Runck began her financial services course last year and is currently teaching her third semester of the class, which is taught at CNM. To date, 31 students have passed her class, she said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

The class teaches students about different career paths in the financial services industry as well as general financial literacy, Runck said. Her background is in educational curriculum development.

“Shana has been instrumental in creating a robust finance curriculum for Running Start for Careers students,” Berry said in a news release. “We are honored that her hard work has made a difference and is being nationally recognized by the White House as a Latino Educator Champions for Change award recipient.”

Runck said one of the biggest benefits of the class is that students who complete it have the opportunity to intern at New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union.

She said the interns from her class are tasked with actual jobs, such as working as a bank teller.

The White House presented Runck with the award Monday. She took part in a panel discussion about successful education programs with other award winners and Jim Shelton, deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

Runck was invited to an evening dinner at Vice President Joe Biden’s house, she said.

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