Outstanding Science Teacher Awards

The New Mexico Academy of Science has been in existence for over 100 years and is an advocate and resource for science and science education in New Mexico.

The Outstanding Science Teacher Award given by the New Mexico Academy of Science honors New Mexico science and math educators. The Academy recognizes educators who provide opportunities for students to succeed in science. The award has been given since 1968 and nominations are open to all preK-12 and informal science educators throughout New Mexico.

The Academy honors two outstanding educators each year at the annual November NMAS meeting with a commemoration, a monetary award, and classroom materials. Each winner and a guest are provided a hotel room, event registration and meal for the annual award ceremony.  This award is augmented by a monetary award from the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Congratulations to our two amazing awardees for 2023 – Dr. Roy Biñas Basa, from Zuni, and Chris Speck, from Albuquerque. Read more about them here.

Program Director: Jayne Aubele, NM Museum of Natural History and Science


Nominations are open to all grade K-12 teachers and all informal science educators who teach or promote STEM subject(s) in New Mexico. Nominations can come from school administrators, parents or families of students, colleagues, or self. Although applications will be accepted thorough the year, the closing period for the current academic year is October 10. Winners will be notified as soon as a selection has been made and asked to submit a biography and publication ready photo. The actual award will be presented at the NMAS fall meeting.

A nomination consists of an information form and a supporting narrative. The documents should be emailed to the program director.

Nomination form and instructions – Word | pdf

If not selected that year, the nomination will be included in the submissions for the following year (a maximum of two consecutive award cycles) with an opportunity for the nominator to update the nomination the second year.

History of the Award

​A single award was established in 1968 to honor New Mexico STEM educators. Since 1990, awards have been given to two teachers annually. In 2018, the Academy opened the awards to nomination of informal science educators. The American Chemical Society has partnered with NMAS and currently presents the monetary award to both NMAS winning. Past teacher awardees have ranged from K through high school and from every part of the state of New Mexico.

Past Recipients of the Outstanding Science Teacher Award

2023 Chris Speck, Garfield STEM School (bio)
Dr. Roy Biñas Basa, Zuni Public Schools (bio)
2022 Hope Cahill, El Dorado Community School, Santa Fe (bio)
Kerrie Thatcher, Jefferson Montessori Academy, Carlsbad (bio)
2021 Megan Strain, Desert Hills Elementary, Las Cruces (bio)
Kerrie Thatcher, Jefferson Montessori Academy, Carlsbad (bio)
2020 Eva Abeyta, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy  (bio)
Lena Eddings, La Cueva High School, Albuquerque  (bio)
2019 Mark Walker, Early College Academy and Career Enrichment Center, Albuquerque (bio)
Amanda Pacheco-Suazo, Mission Academy Elementary School, Albuquerque (bio)
2018 Julianna Matz-Esquibel, Taos High School, Taos (bio)
Nate Raynor, Mescalero Apache School, Mescalero (bio)
2017 Jessica Sanders, Berrendo Middle School, Roswell
2016 Jodie Guillen, Moriarty Middle School, Moriarty
Kevin Sebastian, El Camino Real Academy, Santa Fe Public Schools, Santa Fe
2015 Turtle Haste, Desert Ridge Middle School, Albuquerque (bio)
Anna Suggs, Zia Middle School, Las Cruces (bio)
2014 Colleen Ruiz, Annunciation Catholic School, Albuquerque (bio)
Lindsay Hanson, Public Academy for Performing Arts, Albuquerque (bio)
2013 John Irwin, Texico H.S. Texico
Debra Chee, Crownpoint M.S., Crownpoint
2012 Vickie Funk-Sheley, Tibbetts MS, Farmington (bio)
Gail Silva, Piedra Vista HS, Farmington (bio)
2011 Barbara Mullis, Los Alamos MS, Los Alamos (bio)
Brian Montoya, Puesta del Sol ES, Rio Rancho (bio)
2010 Bonnie Dodge, Infinity HS, Belen (bio)
Damian Armijo, Alta Vista MS, Carlsbad (bio)
2009 Vince Case, School on Wheels HS, Albuquerque
Don Mulder, Washington MS, Albuquerque
2008 Jennifer Coughlin, Eldorado HS. Albuquerque
Theresa Apodaca, Sarracino MS, Socorro
2007 Karen Griego-Kraig, Pojoaque Valley MS, Espanola (bio)
Chasity Montes, Smith ES, Deming (bio)
2006 Lesha Harenberg, Eldorado HS, Albuquerque (bio)
Tammy Hinckley, Barranca Mesa ES, Los Alamos (bio)
2005 Joe Matteson, Pojoaque Valley HS, Espanola (bio)
Steven Brügge, Eisenhower MS, Albuquerque (bio)
2004 Mary Ann Patterson, Socorro ES, Socorro (bio)
Gilberto Logo-Martinez, Truman MS, Albuquerque (bio)
2003 Sam Nichols, Hobbs HS, Hobbs
Sarah Claussen, Zimmerly ES, Socorro
2002 Charles E. Gallegos, Lynn MS, Las Cruces
Alexandra Loots, Santo Domingo ES, SD Pueblo
2001 Ervin A. Pfeifle, Las Cruces HS, Las Cruces (bio)
Brenda Brannen, El Capitan ES., Roswell (bio)
2000 Lino “Ricky” M. Espinoza, Shiprock HS, Shiprock
Susan Nuckols, Floyd ES., Floyd
1999  David P. Nohe, Chaparral MS, Alamogordo
Sara Sue Torres, Sierra MS, Las Cruces
1998 Rondal Nauert, Tatum HS, Tatum
Cathy Stell Kinzer, Mesilla Pk. ES.,Las Cruces
1997 Kevin Blackstone, Alamogordo HS, Alamogordo
Patricia May, La Union ES, Anthony
1996  Ann Allen, Goddard HS, Roswell
Richard Berglund, Capitan Schools, Capitan
1995 Kevin Jarigese, Moriarty HS, Moriarty
Katy Price, Naaba Ani ES, Bloomfield
1994 Mark Witkowski, Santa Teresa HS, Santa Teresa
Sandy Pixley, Dulce ES, Dulce
1993 Arthur Flores, San Miguel ES, Las Cruces
1992 Joe Keating, Thoreau HS, Gallup
Marian Pelking, East Picacho ES, Las Cruces
1991 Malva Knoll, Eldorado HS, Albuquerque
William Reed, Cameo ES, Clovis
1990 Timothy Black, La Cueva HS, Albuquerque
1989 No records
1988 No records
1987 No records
1986 No records
1985 No awards
1984 No awards
1983 No awards
1982 Vincente Villa, NMSU
Mauro Montoya, Highland HS, Albuquerque
1981 David Kidd, UNM
Antonio Lara, Gadsden HS, Anthony
1980 Harry F. Pomeroy, Jr. , Yucca Jr. HS, Clovis
1979 No awards
1978 Geoffrey Purcell, NM Tech
Rex L. Robinson, Grants HS, Grants
1977 Marshall S. Floyd, Highland HS, Albuquerque
1976 Robert F. Miller, WNMU
Earl F. Paige, Tucumcari HS, Tucumcari
1975 Antonio L. Gennero, ENMU
Eldrid E. Harrington, Albuquerque Public School
1974 M.F. Stubbs, University of Albuquerque
Herbert J. Hammond , Alamogordo HS, Alamogordo
1973 No awards
1972 Clay T. Smith, NM Tech
1971 No award
1970 George R. Fischbeck, Albuquerque Public Schools
1969 No awards
1967 Joseph McKinnon, Roswell HS, Roswell