David Morales, a social studies teacher from Mayfield High School, has been selected as the 2016 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, announced Superintendent Stan Rounds. Morales, who teaches New Mexico history and ENLACE (ENgaging LAtino Communities for Education) classes, was nominated for the state award after being named the Las Cruces Public Schools Teacher of the Year last April.
“I’m honored and humbled!” exclaimed Morales, as he received word from the New Mexico Public Education Department. “This [award] also honors the kids we teach. And, it’s a reflection of what all teachers do, not just me.”
According to the New Mexico Public Education website, the state Teacher of the Year is chosen from the 89 school districts and the state and local charter schools that have nominated an outstanding teacher. The selection is made by a panel of judges, comprised of past New Mexico Teachers of the Year, school district superintendents, Nationally Board Certified Teachers working within New Mexico school districts, school administrators, and other teachers.
“Mr. Morales is one of a kind and is a superb example of teachers who deeply care about their students’ lives,” said Superintendent Stan Rounds. “He interacts with students and builds long-lasting, positive relationships.”
Morales is now eligible for the National Teacher of the Year award. He will also travel to Washington, D.C. next spring to meet President Barack Obama at the White House. The last time a Las Cruces teacher was selected for the state award was when Pam Cort of Las Cruces High School was selected as the 2013 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, officials said.
Morales has taught for Las Cruces Public Schools for 11 years. He is also active in the district’s English Language Learner Summer Academy, the Credit Recovery Night School, has been a facilitator with the LCPS Institute for Parent Engagement program and teaches history in the LCPS Virtual Learning Academy. Morales is also the Assistant Varsity Coach for the Lady Trojan Soccer team.
“David is a great representative for all of the hard working, dedicated educators who make up the vast majority of our employee pool,” said Patrick Sanchez, President of NEA-Las Cruces. “He continues to give all his students the opportunity to succeed.”
During his tenure as the ENLACE teacher the graduation rate for his students has increased dramatically, district officials said. For the 2014-15 school year, students who began and completed the program graduated at a rate of 97% and transitioned to higher education at a rate of 91%, according to the ENLACE Final Progress Report submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department in September 2015. Most of the students enrolled in Morales’ ENLACE classes have increased their grade point averages, some by as much as a full point.
Among Morales’ many awards, he has been named the “Character Counts Teacher of the Year Finalist,” the “Excellence for Student Achievement Award,” the “The Bridge of Excellence Award” and he was inducted as a “Bridge Academy of Excellence Fellow.” Most recently, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting recognized him as an “American Graduate Champion.”
Morales is married to LCPS teacher Delilah Morales and they have three children.
Source: Las Cruces Public Schools