Nancy Brummell, a third grade teacher at Apache Elementary, has been named Farmington Municipal Schools Teacher of the Year by a panel. Her award has also put her in contention for the 2020 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, an award she was named a finalist for by NM Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart today. Brummell is one of three finalists from around the state for the NM Teacher of the Year award.
Stewart visited Apache Elementary today to announce Brummell as a finalist and toured the campus as well, even trying out the school’s new playground equipment. As a part of his visit, former students and parents of Brummell’s came back to her classroom to speak about her impact.
Kaleb Martin was in Brummell’s class in 1999 and last year, his son was in her class as well. Martin mentioned his son’s enthusiasm for learning and attributed that to Brummell. Four of Angela Bentley’s five children were in Mrs. Brummell’s class for third grade and two have come back for job shadowing or mentoring, most of which Brummell does outside of classroom hours.
“We really hope she wins,” Bentley said. “My son says that she is his favorite teacher, and he never had her as a teacher.”
A 33-year veteran of teaching, Brummell has spent her entire career at Apache, inspiring and teaching children from neighborhoods on the southwest side of Farmington. But she says her students teach her as well.
“I really enjoy my profession,” Brummell said. “Every day is filled with new learning opportunities for my students and me. I get so excited when a child’s face lights up because they suddenly understand what they thought was so difficult.”
But Brummell’s impact extends beyond the classroom. Her teaching style and emotional connections with student enable them with skills to be successful in life.
“I believe in them and this leads them to believe in themselves as well. And that is powerful for them in many ways,” Brummell said. “There is nothing better than seeing a child smile and knowing you were part of that. I continue to teach because it is rewarding seeing children succeed.”
Brummell was nominated by Apache Principal Jennifer Bowles who said Brummel is “outstanding.”
“Ms. Brummell is a dedicated educator who creates a culture of positive energy and collaborative learning,” Bowles said. “When I walk into her room, students are excited! They are clear about what they need to learn and are eager and motivated to achieve their goals.”
Bowles also pointed to Brummell’s attention to rigor and high expectations through questions she poses to the class during lessons and the pacing at which she does her lessons. The results of Mrs. Brummell’s techniques can be seen in her students’ academics. Her classes lead their grade level in growth in both English Language Arts and Math on school assessments.
Perhaps more important than the academic achievements of her classes, is the emotional impact Brummell has on her students. She often has students and parents return to her classroom to reconnect years after they have left. Recently, a former student, who is now in her 20s, returned to Ms. Brummell’s classroom with school supplies for her current class.
Her emotional connections extend past her students to her colleagues and peers as well. Brummell is a leader among Apache teachers and Bowles credits her leadership for guiding and supporting newer teachers to performing at higher levels.
Stewart also visited Apache’s first grade and kindergarten bilingual classes. Students in these classes are learning the Navajo language as part of their every day curriculum. Stewart and Bowles, alongside FMS Superintendent Dr. Eugene Schmidt, also spent time at the Apache Elementary data wall, discussing parent APTT participation and how the program helps to create stronger learning environments in students’ homes and in the classroom.
Lastly, Stewart stopped at Ladera del Norte Elementary to congratulate the school on its recent National Blue Ribbon School designation. Ladera was recognized in September by US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a National Blue Ribbon School for closing the gap between high achievers and other lower performing students.