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2007 Teacher of the Year

In a wonderful ceremony in Santa Fe on October 6th 2006, Secretary of Education, Dr. Veronica Garcia introduced the 2007 New Mexico Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to Tammy Tiong of the Dulce Independent School District.

Tammy is the K-2 Special Education teacher at Dulce Elementary on the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation in Northwest New Mexico.

Barbara Ashcraft, Principal of Dulce Elementary, in her nomination letter has this to say,

"Tamra is poised, articulate, and possesses the energy to carry out this wonderful task of continually meeting the needs of all the students she instructs. She is knowledgeable, has an excellent repertoire of effective strategies, and puts what she learns from her peers, in-services, and professional development workshops to work in the classrooms with her students. She has earned the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues."

In her application essay about her philosophy of teaching, Tammy relates:

Kids need real, human role models who love, get sad, become frustrated occasionally, and get so excited about learning that we jump up and down, letting our smiles burst into laughter. They need their classroom experiences to be interesting, meaningful, and relevant so that their brains say, "Oh, I see!" instead of "So what?"

Tammy compared her teaching to a color. She chose brown, and her reasoning is this:

A first reaction to this might be, "You mean your teaching is drab and boring?" But the way I see it, brown is the color of all colors; it is what you get when you mix all your watercolor paints, beautiful for its inclusion of the whole rainbow. Brown is puppy dogs and chocolate and native skin; it is trees and leaves and soil which gives life to all things. I strive on a daily basis to make my teaching all inclusive (like the watercolors), warm and friendly (like puppies), sweet and enjoyable (chocolate), direct and embracing (skin), solid (trees), dynamic (leaves), and as nurturing, life-giving, and necessary as soil and earth.

The New Mexico Public Education Department and the NM Teacher of the Year program is proud to have such a wonderful, caring professional as our representative in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

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