Albuquerque Public Schools has an education foundation and it’s a non-profit for APS. The funds they raise go towards creative academic projects, programs, and clubs. Each year, the foundation recognizes three outstanding teachers for their original ideas benefiting their students. Michelle Perez is a teacher at Highland High school.

Michelle Perez came up with ‘Guided Reading for Beginning Readers.’ She said at Highland they have a high population of refugees and immigrants. Perez said she loves to meet kids where they are and move forward from there. They were able to get a grant for $25,000 for a level library with books from pre-k to 6th grade, and everyone in the school can use it. Perez allows her students to pick a book that they can read and understand.

Perez always knew she wanted to become a teacher. But her road to becoming one wasn’t easy. She moved to the United States from Canada when she was in the 7th grade and she struggle in school. Perez explained how she barely passed and graduated high school. It took her 10 years, but she went back to school at the age of 26. Perez continues to encourages her students that they are never too late or too old to go back to school. For more information, visit