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Posted February 2, 2012

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Second Graders Inspire Kirtland ES Teacher

Teacher of the month Alene Hardin loves how much her students grow, both emotionally and intellectually, during a school year.

Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus, Teacher of the Month Aileen Hardin and Pepsi representative Adrian Chavez.

Even after 23 years of teaching, Alene Hardin oozes enthusiasm, especially when talking about her second graders at Kirtland Elementary.

“They come to you as babies and when they leave your class, they know how to read and write. There’s a huge transformation from August to May,” said Hardin, who was honored this week as the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

Just like her students, Hardin is excited about learning and is always looking for ways to improve her teaching. She has embraced technology in the classroom, becoming a huge fan of the Promethean board, which she uses every day in her instruction.

Hardin admits to spending most of her Saturday and part of her Sunday (after church and right up until the weekly family dinner) putting together “flipcharts” that she uses to teach her students reading, math, writing, science – just about any topic.

She said the interactive nature of the electronic white board keeps her students engaged and her instruction innovative. 

“You add a one-minute movie clip of dancing and singing cows or talking dogs into your lesson, and you’ll have the kids’ attention for the rest of the class,” she said.

Hardin’s principal, Peter Espinosa, said she automatically came to mind when he was asked to select the teacher of the month from his school. The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $50 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website and Facebook page.

“Ms. Hardin has always been on the cutting edge of teaching and learning, stretching herself to be the best teacher,” Espinosa said. “Her embrace of the Promethean boards and technology has led the school forward. She has provided professional development for other teachers at the school with workshops, always being unselfish and helping her colleagues to advance.”

Espinosa listed Hardin’s many more contributions to the school including her leadership on initiatives such as the recent implementation of School Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS).     

She is very deserving of this recognition,” Espinosa said. “APS is very lucky to have such a teacher in their ranks.”

Hardin is passionate about education and about Albuquerque Public Schools. Both her parents were teachers and she is a graduate of Del Norte High.

“APS is in my blood,” she said, recalling teen-age afternoons helping in her mother’s classroom before she could get the keys to the car.

“I still drive by Del Norte and I see the room where Mr. McMillan taught language arts, and I get teary eyed,” Hardin said. “That was my favorite class.”

 

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