SANTA FE – Twenty-one New Mexico classroom teachers will be State Ambassadors for the 2021-2022 academic year, the Public Education Department announced today.
Los Alamos High School Computer Science Teacher Allan Didier is among the teachers selected for this leadership program.
The department’s leadership program, which started in 2017, gives educators a voice in New Mexico’s PK-12 public education programming and initiatives. The program also supports a vibrant educator ecosystem, a top priority for the department and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
“I’d like to personally welcome these talented, committed educators to the State Ambassadors program and thank them for the opportunity to tap into their expertise for new ideas to continue improving public education in New Mexico,” Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus said.
The 21 chosen are solutions-oriented level II or level III classroom teachers who want to advance their profession by learning about state policy, advocating for teacher growth opportunities and keeping the teacher pipeline filled with highly qualified professionals.
This year’s cohort, led by the Public Education Department’s Community Engagement team, will focus efforts on strengthening the teacher pipeline and providing insight on how best to help keep teachers in the classroom.
“Our educators have a front row seat to the world of education every day, so it is vital that we hear their voices as well as honor and learn from their experiences,” said Mandi Torrez, the department’s teacher liaison. “This incredible group of Ambassadors has a shared vision of moving New Mexico classrooms forward by moving the profession forward. The PED is committed to building our teacher workforce by creating a vibrant ecosystem where teachers can grow and thrive because they are supported and valued.”
The ambassadors were selected through a process that included a written application and virtual interview. They represent a range of grade levels, subject areas and regions within the state.
The ambassadors will attend a program orientation Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. Over the year, they will meet with stakeholders from across the state and work to lift up the teaching profession through awareness campaigns and by supporting rising educators.
2021-2022 State Ambassadors:
- Allan Didier, computer science teacher, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
- Adri Cuen Flavian, English Language Arts Teacher, Santa Teresa High School, Gadsden
- Amber Valencia, special education teacher, Farmington PreK Academy East, Farmington
- Amanda Wauneka, kindergarten teacher, Jefferson Elementary School, Gallup
- Audrey Colwell, resource teacher and first grade EL teacher, Bandelier Elementary, Albuquerque
- Catherine Brijalba, special ed/English Language Arts teacher, Houston Middle School, Hobbs
- Christine Otero, first-grade teacher, Moriarty Elementary, Moriarty
- Edward Pena, counselor, Cobre High School, Cobre
- Gregory Brown, physical education teacher, Albuquerque High, Albuquerque
- Jamie Torres, special education teacher, Kearny Elementary, Santa Fe
- Janisse Vazquez, social studies teacher, The Ask Academy, Rio Rancho
- Joy Gouripaga, English Language Arts teacher, Cuba High School, Cuba
- Kimberly Landry, second-grade teacher, Sunset Hills Elementary, Alamogordo
- Kristin Lewis, first-grade teacher, Bluffview Elementary, Farmington
- Kathryn Mitchell Gonzales, STEM teacher and librarian, Alvarado Elementary, Albuquerque
- Mary Bissell, math teacher, V. Sue Cleveland High School, Rio Rancho
- Miskee Blatner, Career and Technical Education teacher, Eldorado High, Albuquerque
- Monica Garcia-Roach, lead special educator, UNM Mimbres School,
- Robbi Berry, fifth-grade teacher, Monte Vista Elementary, Las Cruces
- Robin Stevens, English Language Arts teacher, Highland Middle School, Hobbs
- Silvia Miranda, reading specialist, Mesa & James Bickley Elementary School, Clovis