ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former Golden Apple winners helped Hope Montoya-Encinias her last year of college prepare for her first year of teaching. “I started off with the golden apple scholar program in 2006,” Montoya-Encinias said. “I’ve always loved learning and and sharing my love of learning.”

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Now after 16 years of teaching, she’s a Golden Apple recipient for how she helped math students at New Mexico Connections Academy. “The most memorable part of teaching is seeing a student after they’ve graduated. and seeing their accomplishments and all that they’ve done,” Montoya-Encinias said.

She’s now the director of math instruction at Albuquerque’s Explore Academy. “It’s been really exciting seeing students in person, engage with them, seeing them face to face,” Montoya-Encinias said.

Winning the Golden Apple brings her to tears. It’s her parents she wants to thank, including her dad battling cancer. “Growing up my parents always instilled in me the value of giving back. “He’s just been a big inspiration,” Montoya-Encinias said.