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Posted November 26, 2013

Five APS Teachers Named Golden Apple Winners

High school teachers from Del Norte, Albuquerque High and Eldorado earn the prestigious award this year.

Five of the seven high school teachers who earned this year's distinguished Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching work for Albuquerque Public Schools:

  • Jonathan Hagmaier teaches drama and digital film at Del Norte
  • Sherry Lober teaches business at Albuquerque High
  • Eric Strauss teaches marketing at Albuquerque High
  • Sean Thomas teaches social studies at Eldorado
  • Rachel Weihe teaches history at Del Norte.

The Golden Apple Award has been given since 1996 to 166 New Mexico teacher. Each year the award rotates among levels, with the 2014 awards going to high school teachers.

"The fact that five of the seven Golden Apple Award winners are APS teachers is representative of the great work that's going on in our high schools," said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. "We appreciate Mr. Hagmaier, Ms. Lober, Mr. Strauss, Mr. Thomas and Ms. Weihe and are thrilled that they have been recognized for all they do for our students."

The award-winning teachers were nominated last spring by their principal or by other teachers, parents, students or community members. This year, the 87 nominees teach at 46 different schools in 21 communities. Nominees represent 16 of New Mexico’s 89 districts, with five teaching at charter schools, three at private schools, and one from a school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Nominated teachers complete a lengthy application describing their teaching methodology, professional development experiences, community volunteerism, and other aspects of their teaching philosophy. Applications are read and scored first by teachers who have won the award in past years and then by a selection committee composed of active and retired educators.

Teachers are selected first and foremost on the basis of the quality of their teaching.  Teachers receiving the award have also demonstrated a commitment to the profession of teaching and to their own professional growth as well as that of their colleagues. Many of them mentor other teachers at their schools; others often serve as the supervising teacher for teacher interns.

The award includes a cash stipend and $4,000 to be used by each winning teacher toward his or her professional development. Each also receives a laptop computer donated by Intel Corporation. Award winners become part of the Golden Apple Academy of Fellows, an ongoing professional community of outstanding teachers that convenes at various times throughout each year.

Finalists who were not selected for the Golden Apple award are honored and recognized as Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction. Five APS teachers won this honor this year: Lesha Harenberg, a science teacher at Eldorado; Valerie Hoose, an English teacher at Atrisco Heritage Academy; Misty Horning, an English teacher at Eldorado; Lesly Stern, a social studies teacher at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque; and Dawn Witiuk, a math teacher at La Cueva.

These outstanding educators will be honored at the Golden Apple Tribute to Teacher Excellence luncheon on Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Albuquerque. Individual tickets and table sponsorships for the Tribute to Teacher Excellence are available through the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico, (505) 268-5337.



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