Northern New Mexico math teachers earn new specialty degree

Innovative program represents collaboration between classroom teachers, the Laboratory, and New Mexico Highlands University

August 12, 2021

Group Math Masters
Leaders from the Laboratory and New Mexico Highlands University recognized six graduates of Master’s Degrees in K¬-8 Mathematics Teacher Leadership at a reception last week. Left to right: Richard Armentrout, Cuba Middle School; Brett Hawkins, Mountain Elementary School, Los Alamos; Travis Gibson, Mountain Elementary School, Los Alamos; Sam Minner, president, New Mexico Highlands University; Robert Karaba, educational leadership department chair, NMHU; Frances Chadwick, staff director, LANL; Beth Ziomek, Mountain Elementary School, Los Alamos; April Grant¬-Torrez, Pojoaque Intermediate School; Daniela Romero, Abiquiu Elementary School, Española Public Schools; Roxanne Gonzales, provost, NMHU; and Mary Earick, dean, School of Education, NMHU.

LOS ALAMOS, NM, August 12, 2021—This week, six Northern New Mexico teachers are returning to their classrooms and raising the bar for K–8 math teaching at public schools in Abiquiu, Cuba, Los Alamos, and Pojoaque. Richard Armentrout, Travis Gibson, April Grant–Torrez, Brett Hawkins, Daniela Romero, and Beth Ziomek comprise the first-ever cohort to graduate with the new Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in K-8 Mathematics Teacher Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University. The degree is a collaboration between the teachers, the University, and the Math & Science Academy at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a professional-development program supporting the teaching of math and science in the region.  

“Armed with new techniques and their own effusive talent, these leaders in math teaching are bound to be sources of education and inspiration,” said Laboratory Staff Director Frances Chadwick. “I extend my thanks to these self-motivated teachers for being catalysts for change in New Mexico’s classrooms and to the leaders at New Mexico Highlands University for collaborating with us on this innovative program.”

“Here at New Mexico Highlands University, we are committed to training teachers to meet today’s challenges,” said President Sam Minner. “There can be no more effective training program than one conceptualized by those in the classroom every day. I thank these forward-thinking students as well as Provost Roxanne Gonzales, Dean Mary Earick, and Dr. Robert Karaba for making their vision a reality.”

The new degree program originated when six teachers participating in the Academy’s Math Teacher Leader Network told their program leaders that they were interested in pursuing advanced degrees in mathematics teaching but could not find any such program. That’s when the Academy collaborated with Highlands to design and build this new Master’s Degree. 

Since its inception 20 years ago, the Math & Science Academy at Los Alamos National Laboratory has graduated more than 600 area educators. Led by Lorenzo Gonzales, Zachary Leonard, Monica Martinez-Archuleta, and Randy Merker, the Academy is part of the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office, a team of about 15 individuals who foster nonprofit giving, economic development, and education in the seven-county area surrounding the Laboratory. These counties are Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.