PRESS RELEASE - January 30, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Gadsden Teacher, Nancy Ackerman, Named 2004 New Mexico 'Teacher of the Year'

(Santa Fe, NM)--Nancy Ackerman, with the Gadsden Independent Schools, was named today as New Mexico's 2004 Teacher of the Year. "Since I was a little girl, there was never any doubt in my mind that I would grow up to be an educator," she said. Her inspiration was her mother, a teacher for 39 years in the El Paso, Texas public schools and a former Teacher of the Year at her campus.

Since 1981, Ackerman has received outstanding Teacher of the Year recognitions: in Texas from Clardy School in El Paso in 1981 and Tierra del Sol School in the Ysleta Independent Schools in 1993 and from the Gadsden schools in 2003. This is her first state Teacher of the Year recognition.

“Nancy Ackerman discovered the magic of teaching at a very early age, and we’re glad she did! She loves teaching and is devoted to educating students. She has created an outstanding learning community for her students that goes beyond the curriculum to matters of the heart. New Mexico has in Nancy a committed and passionate educator who is truly making a difference in the lives of children,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia.

Governor Bill Richardson said, “We need strong teachers like Nancy Ackerman to carry forward quality educational programs for New Mexico. Our schools will improve through the commitment and leadership of highly qualified teachers in our classrooms. Quality teachers are the backbone of our public schools.”

Ackerman, an educator for 27 years, said, “I am a true believer in sharing the wealth of our hearts with others less fortunate and I hope I instill that feeling in my students.

“No matter what the obstacles that are confronting us, we know in our hearts that we must help each and every one of our students to achieve their maximum potential,” she said.

Ackerman was nominated as “Teacher of the Year” by former fellow staff members at La Union Elementary in La Union, New Mexico, where she worked from 2002-2003. Since July 2003, she has served as Balanced Literacy trainer for the Gadsden schools.

The New Mexico “Teacher of the Year” recognition is part of the National Teacher of the Year Program, co-sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.