LOS LUNAS — Desert View Elementary special education teacher Janelle Beyerl has been  recognized as the district Teacher of the Year for Los Lunas Schools.

Felina Martinez | News-Bulletin photo
Janelle Beyerl

“I was pretty surprised,” Beyerl said of her award. “I wasn’t expecting it; I really wasn’t, but most of the people I talk to are like ‘duh!’”

Each Los Lunas school nominated a teacher of the year. Out of those 15 nominations, Beyerl was selected on behalf of the district for the 2022-23 school year.

Beyerl has been teaching for 10 years. She got her start at Valencia Middle School and has since been at Desert View Elementary for the past five years.

Beyerl was inspired to become a special education teacher through her and her brother’s own experience in the education system.

“My brother was in special ed for speech development and both of us are dyslexic,” Beyerl said. “I saw how much both he and I had to struggle to get through school. It was never easy. We always had to work super hard to get through. So I wanted to help the kiddos that are struggling to help make it easier for them and help give them those strategies to make it through.”

One of the most important lessons Beyerl aims to instill in her students is independence.

“A lot of our kiddos think they can’t do things because they’re a little bit different, but I don’t treat them differently than any of the other kids,” Beyerl said. “I tell them ‘no, you can do it!’ and let them know I’m not going to take their struggle away.

“When they accomplish what they were setting out to do, I praise them and they just get so excited when they are able to do little stuff that we take for granted a lot of the time.”

These little moments, Beyerl said, is what makes it all worth it. Seeing the children learn new skills and master those skills is what she finds as the most joyous aspect of teaching.

“They are so proud of themselves when they do something new,” she said. “You can see it in their face, the light bulb just turns on. It’s those special little moments that you don’t get anywhere else.”

While she is honored to receive the award, Beyerl feels her educational assistants deserve a part in it.

“It’s a total group effort; I cannot do it all by myself,” Beyerl said. “I have eight educational assistants this year that help with the kids, so it’s because of them, too.”

Through the award, Beyerl was given $500, which she said has already been spent on new materials for her classroom for the upcoming school year.

LL Schools Site Teachers of the Year:

  • Cristina Smith (Ann Parish Elementary, kindergarten)
  • Adrienne Smith (Bosque Farms Elementary, third grade)
  • Julie Dutchover (Century High School, electives teacher)
  • Janelle Beyerl (Desert View Elementary, special education)
  • Andrea Klaurens (Katherine Gallegos Elementary, learning innovations coach)
  • Melissa Sanchez (Los Lunas Elementary, kindergarten)
  • Krystal Salazar (Los Lunas High School, counselor)
  • Shaylyn Padilla (Los Lunas Middle School, master social worker)
  • Lyndsie Edwards (Peralta Elementary, physical education)
  • Amber Moreno (Raymond Gabaldon Elementary, fifth grade)
  • Traci Ordonez (Sundance Elementary, counselor)
  • Antonio Barrio (Tomé Elementary, first grade)
  • Caroline Vital (Valencia Elementary, fifth grade)
  • Joshua Sears (Valencia High School, science teacher)
  • William Kennedy (Valencia Middle School, science teacher)
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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.