Amanda Herman, a fifth-grade teacher at Bernalillo Elementary School, got a nice surprise Friday morning during an assembly at the school.

Herman was announced as the first winner of a 2023 Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award. A shocked Herman held back tears when she heard the news and the crowd of students, colleagues, her family, friends and Bernalillo Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Montano applauded Herman’s achievement.

Kevin Hendricks/Observer
Amanda Herman celebrates with her family after she learned she has won a 2023 Golden Apple Award.

“I’m shocked; I had absolutely no idea that this was coming,” Herman said. “I wouldn’t have been considered for any award or anything without my awesome students. They’re the ones who push me to be a good educator. They’re the ones that I take pride in. I’m looking at them because this award is for them too. We did it guys, congratulations.”

Herman is the first of seven teachers who will be awarded by the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico this year. She was one of 200 teachers in New Mexico who were nominated by their peers and one of 15 finalists. The other six awardees will be announced soon.

Pam Powers, executive director of the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico, presented Herman with the award and shared some of the reasons the selection committee decided to recognize Herman.

“Miss Herman is a remarkable teacher, mentor, leader and advocate who truly exemplifies the education profession through work with various education team students and families in a classroom,” Powers said.

Bernalillo Elementary School Principal Jayme Schutte shared similar thoughts about her star teacher.

“She’s an amazing teacher and she always supports her kids academically and emotionally,” Schutte said. “She’s one of the best teachers we’ve had.”