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RISD ‘exemplary’ teachers receive financial awards

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Jessica Sanders accepts the symbolic check for earning an ‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ from Christoper Ruszkowski, secretary of education, at Berrendo Middle School in mid-October, when it was also announced that she was designated the ‘NM Teacher of the Year.’ The Roswell Independent School District’s board of education voted to approve teaching awards to be released to the teachers through payroll. (Alison Penn Photo)

Fifty-eight Roswell Independent School District teachers recognized as “exemplary” received financial awards from the state in time for the holidays.

In addition to those 58 teachers, 212 RISD teachers earned the “highly effective” distinction from the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED).

In mid-November, NM Teach Plus and RISD hosted a ‘top teacher’ dinner to honor the 270 highly effective and exemplary teachers.

On Dec. 11, the RISD board of education approved an addendum for the supplementary personnel salary schedule. Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy clarified this action included the Excellence in Teaching Awards and recommended approval of the measure.

Board member Mona Kirk made the motion and Secretary Dr. Kathleen Pittman seconded. Along with and Kirk’s and Pittman’s votes, President Alan Gedde, Vice President Ruben Sanchez and James Edwards, board member, voted to approve the measure.

When Pittman inquired when the teachers would receive their awards, McIlroy said the awards came in payroll. Chad Cole, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said the teachers received the awards on Dec. 10. To clarify, Cole said the board of education approved the budget, including the awards, at the Nov. 13 meeting and the PED had to pay out the awards before Dec. 22 after they were announced in mid-November.

“When we look some of our teachers, oh they’re getting a bonus — great, well they deserve it,” Dr. Pittman said at the Nov. 13 school board meeting. “If my child is in a classroom and they go well above the year of progress they are supposed to get in that teacher’s room, I think that’s pretty phenomenal. I don’t know if the public really understands what it means to be highly effective and exemplary.”

The PED offers Excellence in Teaching Awards for teachers earning an exemplary designation from the NMTEACH evaluation system. Teachers can be given bonuses of $5,000 or $10,000 for teaching at a secondary level and for teaching math or science.

According to a PED press release, schools statewide have, “1,000 more highly effective and exemplary teachers and nearly 1,000 fewer minimally effective and ineffective teachers” through the NMTEACH opportunities for professional development and coaching.

The NMTEACH system has been used over the last five years to evaluate teachers and rank them into the five categories with observations by administrators, student academic growth, teacher planning and professionalism, attendance and surveys from families and students.

In the past year, the PED has visited the rooms of Jessica Sanders, the teacher of the year at Berrendo Elementary Schoo, Golden Apple Award recipient, and awardee of $10,000; as well as Jeremy Busby, a math teacher at Mountain View Middle School; and Anna Burrola at El Capitan Elementary to present them with checks symbolizing the awards.

The other exemplary teachers awarded were as follows: Ashley Booth, Ashley Stroud, Beth Huff, Brandalyn Arnold, Brian Hardin, Carolina Edwards, Catherine Kuzniar, Chris Thorsted, Christine Banks, Christopher White, Cindy Gazdik, Cindy Sanchez, Claudia Miramontes, Connie Marquez, Cortney Busby, Diana Villarreal, Diane Boyce, Elva Melendez, Erica Gazdik, Erika Chavez, Flor Olga Bustillos, Gretchen Phillips, Hayden Hill, Irma Nevarez, Jamie Furney, Jennifer Furman, Jennifer Johnson, Jessica McGuire, Joan Markham, Julie King, Julie Stokes, Kaharina Diaz, Karen Hendricks, Kathy Smith, Kelsey Wilson, Kenneth Bewley, Kristie Jurney, Laura Ramirez, Lauren Beaty, Lauren Boyes, Laurie Burrow, Linda Schlutz, Lori Dekay, Luis Royo-Sebastian, Marion Crocker, Meg Tidmore, Melissa Lopez, Melody Sandy, Nancy Lock, Renee Maloney, Rhiannon Holloway, Rhonda Pharis, Ruby Rascon Hernandez, Sandra Chappell, Shelby Luck, Susan Guzman, Tamara Garcia, Tara Coffing, Tiffany Schultz, Toni Wooton, Tracey Clements, Travis Ackerman, Veronica Lara, Virginia Amato and Viviana Holguin.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.