Susan Quintana Retires From Pojoaque Valley High School After A Total Of 33 Years Of Teaching

IMG_8990Susan Quintana, in pink, chats with passersby Friday during a vehicle parade in her honor as her son, Matthew Quintana and Leonora Trujillo look on. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8986The Lujan family showed up with a sign and a six-pack of Diet Coke for Susan Quintana at Friday’s parade in her honor. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8984Gary Johnson’s passengers in the parade included his daughter Brianna and his dog. Photo by Maire O’Neill/


Pojoaque Valley Middle School Principal Mario Vigil drove in the parade with his wife and son. Photo by Maire O’Neill/


Susan Quintana has retired from Pojoaque Valley High School after working there since 1990. Prior to that, she worked for Dulce Independent Schools for three years. On Friday, colleagues and community members held a parade in her honor with dozens of vehicles participating including law enforcement and public personnel from the area.

Since 1994, Quintana has provided all kinds of training for teachers and other staff in the Pojoaque District ranging from technology classes to classroom management, formative assessment and social studies education. She has been a mentor for new teachers since 2015, meeting with them weekly and providing support. For the last two years she has provided training for new teachers through the Early Career Institute for Albuquerque Public Schools through Golden Apple.

Quintana has been a board member for the Center for Civic Values for the last two years and has organized and promoted the New Mexico Mock Trial Program. Since 1989, she has been a member of the New Mexico Social Studies Council and served as state director in 1992.  She has been  a board member of the New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum for the past two years and since 2001, she has been a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. For the past five years she has provided training with the resources of the World War II Museum for New Mexico teachers.

In 1998, Quintana traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Teaching Award to learn more about education and culture in Japan. She also studied at Harvard University in 1992 and then traveled to Russia in 1993 to study Russian and American relations through the Cold War.

In 2002, Quintana was named a New Mexico Golden Apple teacher and was recognized for outstanding teaching inside of New Mexico classrooms.

Participants in Friday’s parade spoke of Quintana’s endless dedication to students, teachers and parents and the incredible energy she brought to her work even after 33 years of teaching. Some expressed their sadness that the schools were closed and that they were unable to give Quintana the send-off she deserved, however, Quintana herself seemed to be taking it all in her stride and enjoying the surprise parade and the good wishes of everyone who showed up.

IMG_8981Isabel Becker-Hudson in Friday’s parade. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8979A sign with some of Susan Quintana’s career achievements noted on it. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8976Skip Hempery drove a school bus in Friday’s vehicle parade to honor Susan Quintana. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8974A family wishes Susan Quintana an ‘oh so happy retirement’ in Friday’s parade. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8973Pojoaque Fire & Rescue was represented in Friday’s parade. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8972Pueblo of Pojoaque Chief of Police Freddy Trujillo leads the vehicle parade Friday in honor of Susan Quintana’s retirement from Pojoaque Valley Schools. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8970A long line of vehicles awaits the start of Friday’s parade. Photo by Maire O’Neill/

IMG_8991Susan Quintana chats with participants in Friday’s vehicle parade honoring her 33-year teaching career. Photo by Maire O’Neill/