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Seven NM teachers named as Golden Apple Award winners

A screen shot of the home page for the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico. The foundation recognizes top teachers with annual awards. (Courtesy Of Golden Apple Foundation Of New Mexico)

A screen shot of the home page for the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico. The foundation recognizes top teachers with annual awards. (Courtesy Of Golden Apple Foundation Of New Mexico)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Seven New Mexico high school teachers have been selected from among scores of their peers to receive the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“One of the great lessons of this process is that excellent teaching is happening everywhere in New Mexico,” said Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico Executive Director Brian O’Connell in a statement. “There are many more amazing teachers in our state than people commonly understand. Having said that, these Golden Apple recipients and Teachers of Distinction are truly exceptional. The impacts they have on their students and their communities are profound.”

The award — given every year since 1996 to seven outstanding recipients — recognizes that teaching excellence is the most important in-school factor in students’ academic success, organizers said in a news release. (Look for full coverage of this story on the education page of the Journal Monday.)

The award includes a cash stipend and $4,000 to be used by each recipient toward his or her professional development. Award recipients become part of the Golden Apple Academy of Fellows, an ongoing professional community of outstanding teachers.

The 2017 recipients are:

Miskee Blatner: Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque

Laura Carthy: Literature and Psychology teacher at Capital High School in Santa Fe

Travis Crawley: Government and Economics teacher at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque

Allison Dunn: English Language Arts teacher at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque

Melody Hagaman: Computer Science teacher at Centennial High School in Las Cruces

Stephanie Jaquez: English Language Arts teacher at Farmington High School in Farmington

Mark Robinson: History teacher at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque

There were more than 100 nominations submitted since spring from students, parents, colleagues, principals, or community members in almost two dozen New Mexico towns. Those who were nominated teachers completed lengthy applications outlining their teaching methodology, professional development experiences, community volunteerism, and other aspects of their teaching philosophy.

Sixteen teachers were selected as finalists, organizers said. In the final stage, a selection committee conducted a full-day site visit at each finalist’s school and members observed the teacher in the classroom and interviewed the principal, other teachers, parents, students, and the finalist.

Their quality of teaching was the primary criteria.

The awardees also demonstrated a commitment to the profession of teaching and to their own professional growth as well as that of their colleagues. Many mentor other teachers at their schools.

The selection committee, cognizant of so many teachers deserving recognition, also honored an additional nine finalists as Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction.

They are: Adia Corley- West Mesa High School, Albuquerque; Janet Delgado- Rio Grande High School, Albuquerque; Robert Hanson- V. Sue Cleveland High School, Rio Rancho; Laura Iverson- Del Norte High School, Albuquerque; Shara Montoya- Hot Springs High School, Truth or Consequences; Angela Seiler- V. Sue Cleveland High School, Rio Rancho; Amy Suman- Volcano Vista High School, Albuquerque; Masika Sweetwyne- Gallup High School, Gallup; Nikki Turman- Del Norte High School, Albuquerque.

The Golden Apple Tribute to Teacher Excellence luncheon is on Friday, April 7, 2017, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Albuquerque. Individual tickets and table sponsorships for the Tribute to Teacher Excellence are available through the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico, (505) 268-5337, or by contacting

If you would like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, nominations for the 2018 (middle school) cycle are now open at

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