Hot Springs High math teacher, Sherry Copeland was honored by the Golden Apple Foundation, being named as a New Mexico Teacher of Distinction. Among the classes taught by Copeland are, algebra and geometry as well as advanced placement calculus. She has been at Hot Springs High for six years, and at T-or-C Middle School for two years before moving to the high school. The Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico has as its mission to encourage and support teachers in the advancement of enhancing greater quality in education. Each year they award seven teachers with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching from different grade levels. This year high school teachers were selected, last year the focus was elementary teachers and next year will be those who teach in middle schools
All teachers considered for this award had to be nominated by a student they teach. This year there were 88 teachers nominated from across the state. After completing a detailed essay questionnaire, 16 of these were selected for in class review by judges from the foundation, who sit in on a day of classes for nominated teachers.
“To be considered in that group of 16 was quite an honor,” Copeland said. “That is was students who nominated me means even more. I got into teaching because I wanted to make a difference.” With seven chosen for the Teacher of Excellence award, the foundation selected an additional tier of teachers from the nominees to designate as Teachers of Distinction.
Copeland is a graduate of Hot Springs High, moving here from New Jersey when she was eight years old. She entered teaching as a second career, inspired by a teacher she has when in school. “I always wanted to touch just one life, and make that difference with a student, the same way my own life was changed by a teacher of mine.” This award, and the confidence of former students, who still call on her for help and advice, is evidence that she has achieved that goal.