A Valencia County teacher says she’s “just lucky” to be among some of the best teachers in the state.
“Everyone in Belen Consolidated Schools works hard. All our teachers work hard,” said Sandra Goldberg, a fourth-grade teacher at Dennis Chavez Elementary. “I think I got lucky, honestly. It was exciting and I wish all the teachers were recognized.”
Last year, the announcement went out that the New Mexico Public Education Department was seeking applicants for its New Mexico Teacher of the Year program, established in 1963.
“I wasn’t going to do it at first but my principal encouraged me,” she said.
Goldberg sent in the multi-page packet and didn’t think much more about it. Then in November, she received notice that she was one of the top 10 finalists.
Ivonne Orozco, a Spanish teacher at the Public Academy for Performing Arts in Albuquerque, was named the PED 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year.
Each year, all New Mexico school districts and state charter schools are invited to nominate an outstanding teacher to become New Mexico’s Teacher of the Year. This teacher represents New Mexico in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Goldberg was the only teacher from Valencia County in the Top 10.
“I didn’t even know I was a finalist,” she said.
As a teacher, she said her goal is to always help students do their best and learn.
“It’s about building relationships. Gaining trust is huge,” Goldberg said. “Then they want to learn and grow. It’s all about relationships first.”
To be considered for the Teacher of the Year honor, a teacher must have received an exemplary on their most recent evaluation.
“A lot of that is based on student improvement,” Goldberg said. “There are other exemplary teachers in the district. I wish every teacher could be honored. We have so many great teachers.”
This year marks her 20th year teaching in Valencia County — Goldberg taught her first year with Los Lunas Schools and the other 19 in Belen Consolidated Schools.