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SLV honors outstanding teachers

Posted: Friday, Apr 26th, 2013

Teacher of the Year nominees from San Luis Valley schools are from left, front row, Gilbert Apodaca, Lyndal Smith, Sheryl Josselyn, Gracie Davidson, Catherine Valdez, Manuel Montano and Tonya Metz. From left, back row, are Patricia Kelley, 2013 Teacher of the Year Daniel Newmyer, Amy Duda, Pamela Canty and Denise Benavides. Courier photo by Lauren Krizansky

ALAMOSA ó†Impressive Valley teachers were recognized Wednesday night at the 28th annual San Luis Valley Educators Outstanding Teachers Banquet, and Center High School math and science teacher Daniel Newmyer took home the 2013 Teacher of the Year honor and shiny apple to commemorate the occasion.

Newmyer has been with the Center School District for four years since receiving a M.A. in Education from Regis University and a B.A. in Science Administration from the University of Colorado. He also holds an A.A. in Water Well Technology from Trinidad State Junior College.

His personal vision as a teacher fits with the requirements set out by his school district. Newmyer inspires students to ask questions, training them in the mathematical fundamentals and he empowers them to apply those skills. He believes his role is to teach applied research based instruction to empower students to become scientifically literate.

2012-2013 SLV Teacher of the Year nominees

Sheryl Josselyn

Alamosa School


Josselyn has been with the Alamosa School District for 20 years. She teaches seventh and eighth grade secondary science at Ortega Middle School. She received both her B.S. in Biology, a MA-ESL/Education from Adams State University and a Teaching Certificate from UCCS. She is a member of the Unified District Leadership Team, the Ortega Middle School Leadership Team, the Science Curriculum Team and the Ortega Middle School Coaching Team.

Josselyn has found not only her career, but also her passion in teaching. She believes that she does her absolute best to give her students the foundation to live a strong, healthy and meaningful life. She effectively uses data to guide her instructional decisions primarily through common formative assessments.

Gilbert Apodaca

Centennial School District

Apodaca has been with the Centennial School District for seven years, teaching junior high school math and science. He received a B.S. degree in Forestry from CSU in Fort Collins and he is currently completing his Masters Degree in Technology.

Apodaca teaches academic instruction, motivation and mentoring to his students. He always puts his students first and he makes himself available to students for tutoring and assistance whenever requested. He uses a teaching model learned from the Colorado Legacy Foundation called Math Design Collaborative that allows students to take an active role in the teaching and learning process.

Amy Duda

Del Norte School


Duda has been with the Del Norte School District for five years where she is currently a third grade teacher. Amy received a degree in Spanish from CSU in Fort Collins. She has been instrumental in bringing the Tiger Bucks Program and the Junior Achievement Programs to the elementary school.

Duda believes that it is essential that she not only teach students reading, writing, math, science and social studies, but also to be a caring individual. She also teaches them to be hardworking, respectful and responsible young students.

Lyndal Smith

Moffat School District

Smith has been with the Moffat School District for 16 years. She teaches sixth through eleventh grade history and she is also the Knowledge Bowl Team sponsor, middle school Student Council sponsor and the local History Fair coordinator.

Smith creates a safe learning environment for all of her students. She gives clear instructions and provides students with additional time if they are struggling. Her goal is to instill a love of learning as well an understanding and appreciation of history and culture. She feels that she guides her students towards realizing that the most important things in life are worth working hard for.

Gracie Davidson

Monte Vista School District

Davidson has been with the Monte Vista School District for 14 years. She teaches kindergarten at Marsh Elementary. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Adams State University and a degree in Sociology for Montana State University.

Davidson values active learning events and verbal interactions among the students. She encourages the challenge each otherís thinking and give evidence for their contributions in class conversations.

Catherin Valdez

North Conejos School District

Valdez has been with the North Conejos School District for 28 years. Today, she teaches kindergarten, but has also taught first, third and fifth grades, and Title 1 reading. She received a B.A. and a M.A. in Education from Adams State University.

Valdez is dedicated and loyal to students and their quality of learning. She has involved her students in the Science Discovery for Kids Program workshops. She has been a leader in the District Accountability Committee, Building Accountability Committee, International Reading Member and President of the San Luis Valley Chapter for one year.

Patricia Kelley


Kelley has been the Occupational Therapist for the SLV BOCES for nine years. She works with children from preschool through twelfth grade. She has a total of 20 years of experience in the field of Occupational Therapy. She received a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University where she graduated with honors. She is a member of the BOCES Motor Team and Steering Committee.

Kelley believes that all students desire to be successful and itís her job as an educator to create the relationship and the environment in which they may unfold. She also feels that it is her job to celebrate the excellence that each student innately holds including all the joys, gifts, talents and interests that they bring forth simply by being who they are.

Pamela Canty

Sanford School District

Canty has been with the Sanford School District for 12 years where she teaches sixth grade. She received a B.A. in Elementary Education from Adams State University. She has served on the implementation team for the Leader-In-Me Program.

Canty wants each of her students to realize their potential as a leader. She involves her students in teacher conferences. The students are responsible for presenting their information to their parents. She believes that his will teach them responsibility for their own learning and to what awaits them as they move on.

Denise Benavides

Sangre De Cristo School District

Benavides has been with the Sangre De Cristo School District for two years where she teaches junior and senior high school social studies. He received a B.A. in Elementary Education, a M.A. in Elementary Education and a Principal Licensure from Adams State University.

Benavides understands the difference between formative and summative data, and shares this with her students and their families. She instructs her class in a way that engages all students in learning by tapping into the studentís background and knowledge of the subject she is teaching. Benavides motivates her students to reach above and beyond their goals.

Tonya Metz

Sargent School District

Metz has been with the Sargent School District for 19 years where she teaches K-12 physical education. She received a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Elementary Education, M.A. in Reading Specialties and an Endorsement in K-12 Physical Education from Adams State University.

She feels that as a physical education teacher, she not only exposes her students to a variety of activities and programs to increase their fitness and develop movement skills, but to also provide students with opportunities to create an appreciation and love for being physically active for a lifetime.

Manuel Montano

Sierra Grande School District

Montano has been with the Sierra Grande School District for 11 years where he teaches middle school science and is the high school wrestling coach. He is also a member of the Sierra Grande School District PLC for Data/School Improvement. He received his BA in Education from Adams State University. He is currently working on his Masterís Degree in Educational Leadership.

Montano has many roles as a teacher. He is a mentor, a role model, a friend, a counselor and, at times, a parent. It is his role to set high expectations for all students and parents and to be firm, but fair. He has also taken on the role of mentoring new teachers. He is a caring teacher who respectfully listens to studentís needs and concerns while at the same time, providing instruction that is informative and engaging.

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