Bernalillo educator wins New Mexico Teacher of the Year

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PLACITAS, N.M. (AP) — A third-grade teacher in the Bernalillo school district who got her start volunteering at an after-school program teaching English as a second language in a low-income housing community has been named the New Mexico Teacher of the Year.

State Public Education Secretary-Designate Ryan Stewart announced Mandi Torrez as the winner Friday based partly on her efforts to focus on cultural responsiveness, inclusivity and equity in the classroom.

For the first time in the 56-year-history of the award, a one-year, paid sabbatical is being financed by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. Torrez also gets up to $10,000 in professional development opportunities and will represent New Mexico in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Torrez has been teaching for 10 years, including eight at Placitas Elementary School where she's worked to organize annual cultural celebrations.


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