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Posted: November 19, 2018

Honors and Recognitions

Golden Apple Winners

Four APS elementary school teachers have been awarded the 2019 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The APS recipients of the prestigious award are:

  •  Michael Anderson, Inez Elementary School
  •  Sharon Eanes, Double Eagle Elementary School
  •  Amy Lauer, Monte Vista Elementary School
  •  Stephanie Walstrom, Bandelier Elementary School

Four additional APS teachers were named as Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction:

  • Bella Chandler, S.Y. Jackson Elementary School
  • Jacqueline Cook, Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary School
  • Kimberly Henderson, Osuna Elementary School
  • Kristin Herrmann, North Star Elementary School

The Golden Apple Award has been given every year since 1996 to outstanding recipients from across the state. Recipients are nominated by their communities (parents, fellow teachers, principals, community partners) and complete a rigorous application and site visit process.

More than 300 teachers in 77 New Mexico communities were nominated for the 2019 award. Nominated teachers completed a lengthy application describing their teaching methodology, professional development experiences, community volunteerism, and other aspects of their teaching philosophy. 

Sixteen teachers were selected as finalists. In the final stage of the selection process, a Selection Committee conducted a full-day site visit at each finalist’s school. The team observed the teacher in the classroom and interviewed the principal, other teachers, parents, students, and the finalist.

Golden Apple recipients are selected 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. Being recognized as a leader in their school community is also an important factor. 

The award includes a cash stipend and $4,000 to be used by each recipient toward their professional development. Award recipients become part of an ongoing professional community of outstanding teachers called the Golden Apple Academy of Fellows.

A total of seven teachers statewide received the Golden Apple award. In addition to the four APS teachers, winners are Brittany Behenna Griffith of Santa Fe Public Schools, Cynthia Gustamantes of Aztec Municipal Schools and Roxanne Mitchel of Clovis Municipal Schools.

The other Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction are Shelly Grim and Christi Hartley of Clovis Municipal Schools, Samantha Nelson of Farmington Municipal Schools and Shari Stewart and Penny Voss of Manzano Day School in Albuquerque. 

“Announcing the Golden Apple Award recipients and Teachers of Distinction is the proudest day of the year for us,” says Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico Executive Director Brian O’Connell. “These teachers are inspirational, and it is a profound honor to reward them for their hard work and commitment to educating New Mexico’s children.”

These outstanding educators will be honored at the Golden Apple Tribute to Teacher Excellence luncheon on Friday, April 5, 2019, 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, or by contacting

If you would like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, nominations for the 2020 (high school) cycle will be open at in December.

Filed under: Core Schools
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