Now in its noteworthy fifty-fifth year, the New Mexico Teacher of the Year Program began in 1963. Each year, all New Mexico school districts and Charter schools are invited to nominate an outstanding teacher to become New Mexico’s Teacher of the Year; this teacher represents New Mexico in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
New Mexico’s Teacher of the Year acts as the spokesperson for the teaching profession for New Mexico. The New Mexico Teacher of the Year program incorporates the New Mexico Public Education Department’s vision of a world-class educational system in which all New Mexico students are prepared to succeed in a diverse, and increasingly complex, world.
New Mexico Teacher of the Year State Awards Program
The New Mexico Teacher of the Year is chosen from the eighty-nine school districts and the state and local charter schools who have nominated an outstanding teacher by a panel of judges (i.e. past New Mexico Teachers of the Year, School District Superintendents, Nationally Board Certified Teachers working within New Mexico School Districts, School Administrators, and other teachers) representing New Mexico educators.
The mission of the New Mexico Public Education Department is to provide leadership, technical assistance and quality assurance to improve student performance and close the achievement gap. The New Mexico Teacher of the Year promotes excellence in teaching, is a source of inspiration to other teachers to strive for improving the quality of education within their own classrooms, therein providing the tools necessary for New Mexico students to succeed.
2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year
Ivonne Orozco, 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, has always loved going to school, reading, writing, and talking about the things she has learned. She still loves picking out her first day of school outfit and packing her lunch the night before. She gets to go to school for a living and couldn’t be happier.
Ivonne teaches Spanish at a 6th-12th charter school, Public Academy for Performing Arts, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, where her research led to the proposal and development of a new course which focuses on the academic language development of heritage language learners. Because Ivonne is committed to creating interactive, challenging lessons for all students, she has worked with a team of teachers from across New Mexico to revise blueprints for state level Spanish End of Course exams. She has also served as an NHS sponsor and is part of the effort to reduce LGBTQ+ adolescent suicide through a national study (RLAS).
Ivonne’s family immigrated to the United States, from Mexico, when she was twelve years old. As a first-generation college student, immigrant, queer woman of color, Ms. Orozco has found her educational voice through her intersectionalities. Ivonne’s ties to community networks such as El Centro de la Raza at UNM allow her to help undocumented students with college applications and scholarships; she is a ceaseless resource for families in her community. Ivonne recognizes students are real people with unique experiences and that the sociopolitical context of their lives matters.