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Tombaugh Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Cathy Turietta-Huber is Las Cruces Public Schools’ 2023 teacher of the year (TOTY), the school district said in a news release. Amelia Apolonio, a computer technician at the LCPS service desk, was named LCPS 2023 education support personnel of the year.
The honors were announced April 30 at the school district’s Celebration of Excellence dinner host by the LCPS Foundation.
Principals from all LCPS schools nominate a teacher and an educational support personnel candidate for the awards each year. Educational support staff can be any LCPS employee who is not a certified teacher. Winners were chosen from 10 semi-finalists and three finalists in each category.
In addition to Turietta-Huber, TOTY finalists were Mayfield High School biology teacher Alexis Black and Desert Hills Elementary School bilingual teacher and K-5 coordinator Jennifer Reyes.
Turietta-Huber will begin her 22nd year of teaching with LCPS and has been recognized as a highly effective educator by the New Mexico Public Education Department.
“Every day is exciting,” Turietta-Huber said. “No two days are the same, and there are no boring days teaching students. In fifth grade, we want to get students ready for middle school, which is a very exciting time in their young lives.”
Educational support personnel of the year finalists in addition to Apolonio were LCPS Physical Plant lead mechanic Mike Sanchez and Hillrise Elementary School lead custodian Armando Iniguez.
“I enjoy this job because I’m able to make sure the students and staff have their devices working,” Apolonio said. “Working the service desk, I’m also able to help parents so they can assist their children in what they need. To me, helping is the best part of my job.”
Finalists for each award were given $250 cash prizes, while winners received $1,000. The money was presented by Century Bank and Campos Photos, both sponsors of the dinner. Other sponsors include Nusenda Credit Union and MountainView Regional Medical Center.