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New Mexico Teacher of the Year

///New Mexico Teacher of the Year
New Mexico Teacher of the Year 2023-09-19T22:59:35-06:00

Tara Hughes

2023 New Mexico Teacher of the Year

Tara Hughes is currently teaching a four-year-old inclusion pre-kindergarten class at Nye Early Childhood Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to her career in teaching, Mrs. Hughes worked as a carpenter and welder at the Santa Fe Opera where she taught stage operations and construction to college students. This experience ignited her passion for teaching.

Mrs. Hughes started her teaching journey working at a private preschool in Santa Fe for two years. She then moved to New York and Massachusetts, where she served as an educational assistant (EA). Her time working as an EA inspired her to pursue a Master of Education in special education from New Mexico Highlands University. During her studies, she completed her student teaching in an autism-specific prekindergarten classroom, further fueling her commitment to providing all students with access to peers. Ten years ago, Mrs. Hughes joined the Santa Fe Public Schools as a highly-structured special education teacher. In 2020, Mrs Hughes received her Early Childhood Teacher Certification from the Santa Fe Community College.

Mrs. Hughes’ commitment to inclusive education was highlighted when her classroom received the FOCUS: Essential Elements of Quality, Five Star Verification in 2020. In 2021, she was featured in an Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center documentary series by the University of North Carolina on how the fields of early education and early childhood special education could successfully support preschoolers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of technology.

Mrs. Hughes was recognized as the 2023 Santa Fe District Teacher of the Year and is currently a State Ambassador with the NM Public Education Department and a member of the Teacher Leader Network. In April 2023 she was honored with a Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award.

Her pedagogical precedence is to promote universal preschool with a focus on ensuring equal access, including early intervention, social-emotional learning and inclusion for all young learners.

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.

2024 New Mexico Teacher of the Year Application

Applications for the 2024 New Mexico Teacher of the Year are now available. Please compile the required information for the application. Application submissions will begin Sept 20-Oct 15, 2023.

Page last updated September 19, 2023