Celebrating Exceptional Teachers

Current Golden Apple Winners

Each year, the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico names up to 7 teachers from across New Mexico for the Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award, and several nominees are recognized as Teachers of Distinction.  These awards rotate tri-annually through different school levels: elementary, middle, and high school.  Golden Apple award-winning teachers have been recognized in a broad range of subjects, from P.E. to Physics, from Special Education to Advanced Placement, from the core to elective subjects. Those who are recognized are illustrative of the many talented and skilled professionals working hard every day to inspire students in New Mexico classrooms.

2020 Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

Shantel Y. Dixon

Shantel Y. Dixon

English Teacher, Capital High School in Santa Fe

Lange Family Foundation Fellow

“Shantel gives all she has to her students both at school and on the weekends. Her students adore her and know there is nothing Shantel won’t do for them.”

Hope Montoya-Encinias

Hope Montoya-Encinias

Math, New Mexico Connections Academy in Albuquerque

Goodgame Foundation Fellow

“After joining the virtual academy, Hope is happy with her students and is able to spend one-on-one time with them in a setting not always found in a conventional classroom. She is a great, dedicated teacher.”

Lesha Dawn Harneberg

Lesha Dawn Harneberg

Biology and Anatomy/Physiology Teacher, Eldorado High School in Albuquerque

Dion’s/Bueno Foods/REDW Fellow

“Mrs. Harenberg cares about the success of all of her students, not only academically but for any achievement big or small.”

Carman C. Moon

Carman C. Moon

English Teacher, Capital High School in Santa Fe

Martin J. “Mike” and Pat Koldyke Fellow

“Carman provides the support and guidance our students need to be successful not only in her class but in their future AP English classes. My colleagues and I have come to appreciate how well-prepared our students are after spending a year with Ms. Moon.”

Richard M. Pitman

Richard M. Pitman

Biology Teacher, Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe

Ralph K. Strong Endowment Fellow

“Mr. Pitman is an exemplary science teacher. He develops curriculum and shares it with other teachers, has strong communication skills, and develops a rapport with his students and their families.”

Jeanie Stark

Jeanie Stark

Special Education English Teacher, Del Norte High School, Albuquerque

Bank of Albuquerque and Duffy and Jean Ann Swan Fellow

“Jeanie is constantly implementing new strategies to help her special education students access the same materials that the regular education students get. She represents the best that teaching has to offer.”

David Lee Ubinger

David Lee Ubinger

Math, Chaparral High School in Chaparral

Wells Fargo Fellow

“David Ubinger actively seeks out new resources and has created a learning environment for his students that is engaging and authentic.”

2020 Teachers of Distinction

Olivia Casaus, Cuba High School, Cuba Independent Schools
Jay Clack, Capital High School, Santa Fe Public Schools
Sherry Copeland, Hot Springs High School, Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools
Lisa Ehlers McCuller, Arrowhead Park Early College High School and Medical Academy, Las Cruces Public Schools
Stephanie Mitchell, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos Public Schools
Michael Nair, Albuquerque High School, Albuquerque Public Schools
Murray “Tony” Ray, Las Cruces High School, Las Cruces Public Schools
Elizabeth Tafoya, Moreno Valley High School, Cimarron Public Schools
Unna Valdez, Sandia High School, Albuquerque Public Schools

Thank You to our Fellows Sponsors

These sponsors enable us to give sizable cash grants to each Golden Apple Teacher Fellow. 

Goodgame Foundation
Wells Fargo Logo
Lang Family Foundation
Ralph K. Strong Endowment Logo
Martin J. And Pat Koldyke
Duffy And Jean Ann Swan Logo
Bank Of Albuquerque Logo
Redw Cpa Logo
Dions Logo
Bueno Foods Logo