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News from 2023-2024

Posted: August 1, 2023

APS Welcomes 200 Newly Minted Educators

Elder: You’re about to embark on one of the greatest journeys.

Superintendent Scott Elder and ATF President Ellen Bernstein welcome new educators to APS.

Superintendent Scott Elder and ATF President Ellen Bernstein welcome new educators to APS.

As many Albuquerque Public School teachers and other school personnel were enjoying the last day of summer break last Friday, a noteworthy scene was playing out at Del Norte High School.

Superintendent Scott Elder, who will be leaving APS in June after more than 30 years at the district, welcomed about 200 teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses in what had the feel of a torch being passed to a new generation of educators.

“You are about to embark on one of the greatest journeys that anyone can embark on,” he told them.

Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein joined Elder in welcoming the new educators.

“A strong public education system is the cornerstone of our democracy,” she told the group. “Engaged citizenry, the people you are teaching, we need them to be engaged as citizens in our society. And that is a huge responsibility for all of us. And it's public education that does that.”

Elder acknowledged the criticism schools receive regularly but stressed that there is more to the story.

“What you’re about to discover is there’s an amazing amount of things that are going right in our schools,” Elder told them, “and the impact you’re about to have on children for the next however many years, it’s unmeasurable.”

The superintendent said a former student recently sent him a letter that contained a photo of Elder from 1991.

“It reminded me what that first year was like,” he said. “It reminded me of how excited I was to be there, how neat it was to meet those kids.”

He said he became a better teacher with each passing year.

“Anytime you do something for the first time, it’s hard,” Elder added. “And there’s going to be points this year, things are going to be hard, and you’re going to think, ‘Oh, gosh. I can’t do this…’ I want to assure you, that feeling will pass. We all have moments of insecurity. We all have moments of uncertainty. You will be fine.”

Among the advice he offered the new educators:

  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities.
  • Talk to other teachers, find a group to talk to about what’s going on in your classroom, and learn from veteran teachers.
  • Take pictures and keep a journal “because you’re going to want to remember this year.”

Aaron Choneska, a new teacher assigned to Bel Air Elementary who has ties to Santo Domingo Pueblo and the Mescalero Apache Tribe, was in the audience.

Choneska said he realized he wanted to be an educator while attending Eldorado High School. He said he loves working with students and families and wants to create a safe space for students.

“I’m excited to be here,” he said.

Valeria Teran, a new teacher assigned to Taft Middle School, was also at the orientation session.

“I knew I always wanted to work with kids,” she said. Teran said she is both nervous and excited to welcome students on Thursday. But she said she feels very supported.