Four LAPS Staff Members Receive 2021 Excellence In Improving Student Achievement Awards

Mateo Cardiel

Victoria Daley

Christine Englebrecht

Becky Cocina


Los Alamos School Board President Melanie Colgan announced the recipients of the 2021 Excellence in Improving Student Achievement Awards this week: Mateo Cardiel, Victoria Daley, Christine Engelbrecht and Becky Cocina. during the school board meeting held Tuesday.

The awards, sponsored by the New Mexico School Boards Association and LAPS, are presented to individuals selected by local boards of education throughout New Mexico who have played an important role in improving student achievement in their local school district.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s recipients of the Excellence in Student Achievement Awards,” said Kurt Steinhaus, Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools. “All are true leaders in teaching and go that extra mile to ensure that our students are thriving.”

Mateo Cardiel is a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Mountain Elementary School. His anonymous nominee described him as a “caring, compassionate, amazing young man who makes connections with some of the most difficult students.”

Victoria Daley, a GATE teacher at Aspen Elementary School, was nominated for her willingness to always go above and beyond the call of duty to help not only her own students, but any student in the school.

Christine Engelbrecht’s nominee described the Los Alamos High School Language Arts teacher as “an amazing teacher who cares for her students, motivates them to do their best work (while equipping them with the tools and skills to do that best work) and thinks deeply about the content of the lessons she teaches.”

Los Alamos Middle School 8th grade Social Studies teacher Becky Cocina was nominated because of her dedication to promoting standards and growth throughout remote teaching. It was noted that rather than lowering the bar, she built a ramp to teach the kids not only social studies, but how to academically become a better version of themselves.

The New Mexico School Boards Association is the member organization for all of New Mexico’s school boards to support their efforts in providing a quality education for all students of New Mexico.