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Superintendent's News

Posted: October 27, 2023

Even More to Celebrate at APS

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder congratulates teachers and staffers for their statewide awards.

Five weeks ago, I promised to do my best to get the word out about good things happening at Albuquerque Public Schools and to celebrate those accomplishments. In keeping with that promise, I’m going to shine a light on three APS teachers and a staff member who are being honored for the fantastic work they do every day.

The New Mexico Academy of Science has selected Garfield STEM School’s Chris Speck as one of its 2023 Outstanding Science Teachers. He’s one of two New Mexico teachers being honored for providing “opportunities for students to succeed in science.” Even if you don’t know Speck, you’ve probably heard of him. He spent part of his summer exploring Norway’s spectacular fjord-carved coast as one of 50 educators from the U.S. and Canada chosen as the 15th cohort of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Society Grosvenor Teacher Fellows. In 2017, he won a prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. He spent a month conserving coral and working on an assisted evolution program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology on Coconut Island as part of his Golden Apple professional development. Best of all, he uses those experiences to engage his students.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Art Educators Association is honoring two of our high school teachers for their work. Nikki Turman, who teaches at Del Norte High School, is being recognized as the NMAEA New Mexico Art Educator of the Year, the organization’s top award. Turman, who received a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction award in 2017, competed against art educators from all grade levels and divisions in the state. Cibola High’s Sara Linn is receiving the NMAEA High School Art Educator of the Year award. Linn, the head of the Fine Arts Department at Cibola, competed against high school art educators from around the state.

And finally, the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness is honoring the director of our McKinney-Vento program. Cristal Wilson has been selected as the Nonprofit Leader of the Year for her “dedication to ending homelessness in New Mexico.” The award will be presented today at the organization’s Housing for All Conference. Wilson heads up our McKinney-Vento program, which provides services to APS students experiencing homelessness and those whose housing situation is precarious. The work that she and her colleagues do is impressive. They provide food and clothing to students, connect them to community resources like housing vouchers, and help them overcome the many obstacles they face.

So congratulations to Chris, Nikki, Sara, and Cristal! The fact that they’re being honored by the experts in their fields speaks volumes about the amazing work they do each and every day to educate, help, and inspire our students. They are amazing people, and we are lucky to have them.

These awards are excellent reminders of the caliber of people we have at APS.

As someone who has worked here for more than 30 years, I know that our teachers and support staff care about students and frequently go above and beyond. So, thank you to everyone who is investing their time, energy, and heart into helping our students succeed.

Have a great weekend.