For Immediate Release: September 13, 2018
Governor Susana Martinez Surprises Albuquerque Teachers in Their Classrooms with First-Ever Excellence in Teaching Awards
Teachers presented with $5,000 and $10,000 checks
2018 New Mexico Teacher Summit survey shows the vast majority of NM teachers want to keep NMTEACH system in-place
Albuquerque, NM – Today, Governor Susana Martinez surprised two teachers with $5,000 and $10,000 awards in recognition for their outstanding craft and student academic growth, as part of New Mexico’s first-ever Excellence in Teaching Awards. Governor Martinez stopped into the classrooms of Ms. Emily van Dyck and Mr. Sonny Sapien at Mission, Achievement, and Success Charter school in the heart of Albuquerque to present them with their awards in front of their students.
“Recruiting, retaining, and championing our teachers is critical to the growth and success of our children,” said Governor Martinez. “I’m honored to present the first-ever Excellence in Teaching Awards to some of our state’s highest performing teachers. It’s teachers like these that are making a difference for our students and I’m proud that we’re rewarding their success.”
This year, alongside a 2% raise for all teachers in New Mexico, Governor Martinez signed a bill creating the Excellence in Teaching Awards to reward our best teachers for their hard work and success in growing student achievement. The Governor also enacted the first permanent compensation increase in state statute for teachers, at every level, since 2003.
Teachers earning the highest distinction on NMTEACH can expect to receive their Excellence in Teaching Awards of $5,000 and $10,000 – with the larger awards for secondary math and science teachers and teachers – this fall.
In a recent survey conducted at the 2018 New Mexico Teacher Summit, attended by more than 1,000 educators from across the state, it was clear that the vast majority of the state’s teachers want stability and continuity in the years ahead – with 74% of teachers responding that they want stability and continuity of NMTEACH and only 11% not wanting sustainability (15% were neutral). Teachers across the state also shared that NMTEACH helps improve their teaching practice, their students’ academic growth, and bolsters the state’s continued efforts to improve teacher preparation and mentoring, individualize professional development, and dramatically expand teacher-leadership opportunities.
“It is our collective duty to elevate the teaching profession and NMTEACH makes innovation in compensation, mentoring, preparation and professional development possible. Excellence in Teaching Awards are a part of that. We cannot cling to a 20th century notion about our profession in a globally competitive 21st century world—and New Mexico has demonstrated fortitude and resolve in developing a tool that authentically helps teachers improve their craft through reviewing student achievement data, reflection on classroom observations, and listening to the voices of our parents and students,” said Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. “And now that we’ve learned that the vast majority of our teachers want to keep NMTEACH in place and have continuity, stability, and continuous improvement – we have a collective responsibility to recognize the progress we’ve made for our students and for our profession and to continue to build upon our state’s unprecedented progress.”
A recent public release of aggregate NMTEACH data highlighted that there are more teachers across the state earning Exemplary and Highly-Effective ratings than ever before – over 1,000 more since 2015. This means that more students have access to high-performing teachers and more students are growing academically across all subject areas. New Mexico’s schools now also have nearly 1,000 fewer Minimally Effective and Ineffective teachers—a testament to the ongoing professional development and individualized coaching opportunities that NMTEACH catalyzes.
Statewide, New Mexico’s student progress is unprecedented in the state’s history: 11,000 more students are doing math on grade level and 13,000 more students are reading on grade-level since 2015 – with Native American students improving their reading results more than any other group of students – by 8.2 percentage points. More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams and the statewide graduation rate is at an all-time high of 71.1%.
As we continue to raise the bar across the public education system – our students, families, teachers, and schools are rising to the challenge.