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Posted: May 6, 2024

Two APS Teachers Surprised With Golden Apple Awards

Cibola art teacher, Volcano Vista forensic science teacher among five educators honored by organization.

Two high school teachers from Albuquerque Public Schools have been selected for prestigious Golden Apple awards.

Cibola High School art teacher Sara Linn and Volcano Vista High forensic science teacher Desiree Sers were surprised with the Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award at gatherings at their schools last week. They are among five educators from across the state that the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico chose to honor this year.

Recipients are educators “who demonstrate classroom excellence, professional commitment, and a desire to elevate education in New Mexico.”

Sara Linn

Linn said she was extremely honored and excited to receive the award.

“I don’t even have words right now,” she said, later explaining that applying for the award made her reflect on her teaching and what students are getting from her class and gave her an opportunity to revisit her passion.

“I started out teaching because of another educator, my high school art teacher, and then I stayed because it makes a difference,” Linn said. “Education is what changes and alters people’s lives. It’s what helps them to become the young people they’re going to be and to really have faith in themselves and to grow.”

She said her goal is to help build that bridge between where students are now and where they want to be.

Desiree Sers

Sers called the seven years she’s been teaching at Volcano Vista an amazing experience. She taught biology for the first four years, and then the school launched a new forensic science program.

“The last two years I’ve had all forensics classes,” Sers said. “It’s just been a full load all day, which has been an absolute blessing.”

While she initially didn’t tell many people she was up for the award, she’s grateful for the attention that winning it is bringing to the school’s forensic science program.

“I really hope this program catches on and we see it at more of the high schools because it’s been positive for my students as far as career exploration, kind of jump-starting them into taking other courses that they’re interested in,” Sers said.

“Our English department has done a great job of starting a crime and punishment set of classes, and we really get to feed off of each other a little bit. Our students overlap,” she added. “It’s just been really cool to watch our kids grow and be engaged in what we’re asking them to learn.”

Other recipients

The three other teachers receiving the award this year are:

  • David Morales, an ENLACE social studies teacher at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces
  • Kit Standridge, a Spanish teacher at Academy for Technology and the Classics in Santa Fe
  • And Melissa Torres, who teaches at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory in Albuquerque.

The Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico has been recognizing teachers since 1994. It strives to honor amazing educators across the state who are making a difference.

“Our mission is to catalyze teacher excellence through recognition, professional development, and community engagement,” the organization said on its website.