White Rock’s Debra Minyard Named New Mexico Teacher of the Year

Pojoaque School Board recognizes White Rock resident Debra Minyard as New Mexico Teacher of the Year. Photo by Joshua Minyard

White Rock resident Debra Minyard named New Mexico Teacher of the Year. Photo by Rhonda Evenhus

By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN

White Rock resident Debra Minyard has been recognized Nov. 12 as New Mexico Teacher of the Year by the Pojoaque School Board. Minyard is a music educator for Pojoaque High School and has been the band director since 2003.

“I take great take joy in working at Pojoaque,” Minyard said. “It is an honor to be recognized by my peers, administrators and the school board.” 

She is an active member of NAfME, NMMEA and Pi Kappa Lamda Music Society and volunteers with local elementary schools to help students find the instrument that fits at music open house nights.

“This is a well-deserved award,” Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard said. “I have had the pleasure of working with Deb on some of the stuff she does with her students and I look forward to doing more. She is an innovative, forward thinking professional.”

Minyard was innovative when she first learned of the Boomerang Project and became a certified Link Crew Coordinator. The transition program has upper classmen spending the entire school year as mentors for freshmen, with the motto, “Students Helping Students Succeed.”

The success Minyard has had with Link Crew plays a large role in why Los Alamos High School began the program this school year and she also has mentored the junior level program at Los Alamos Middle School, called WEB Crew (Where Everybody Belongs).

Minyard understands forward thinking and she sees how programs can change not just the culture for schools, but the engagement of their students, in attaining a successful education. Minyard also is the Pojoaque High School AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) site coordinator. She blends resources from the community into the school setting to foster learning and inspire her students to the college level.

Those projects are in addition to her work as a certified teacher in music education. She has spent 20 years at the middle and high school level, while also assisting where called upon as a guest teacher and private instructor.

Her accolades include:

  • 2014  Pojoaque Valley Schools Teacher of the Year;
  • 2010-present Band students earn ratings of “Excellent” and/or “Superior” at area festivals and state competitions;
  • 2002 Selected by SBO Magazine to represent Maine as one of “50 Teachers Who Make a Difference”;
  • 2000 Member of Who’s Who of Professional Educators; and
  • 2000 Nominated for the Disney Music Educator of the Year Award.

“Our district administration says she has done great things with the band,” Garcia Richard said, “and it has really grown in size under her leadership!”

One goal for Minyard this school year, is to acquire used instruments for a great number of students that are interested in a musical education, but can’t afford to own or rent an instrument.

According to Garcia Richard, Minyard will be recognized by the State Legislature after the 60-day session begins. Her work kicks off in January.

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