Golden Apple: Stephanie Walstrom setting the stage for lifelong learning


As a young girl, she wanted to change the world and had a vision to help people. Stephanie Walstrom is now living out her dream as a kindergarten teacher, and she’s one of the best in the city. 

“Ever since I was a little girl, I had a play school set up in my basement and I would teach my stuffed animals. I always enjoyed working with children,” Walstrom said. 

The Golden Apple award winner has a way of connecting with children. 

“I love what I do and I’m very fortunate to have a job that brings me joy each and every day for 13 years,” she said. 

Walstrom has taught for more than a decade in Albuquerque. The past four years she’s been a kindergarten teacher at Bandelier Elementary. 

“If kindergarten is joyful and magical, fun and hands-on, you’re setting the stage for lifelong learning,” Walstrom said. 

She says she loves watching her students grow through the year. 

“So much of kindergarten is social and emotional, not just academics, so that’s a very important piece and you have breakthroughs all the time,” Walstrom said. 

She says her class was just as excited to learn she had won a Golden Apple. 

“They ripped off their jackets and threw them in the air, and they were screaming. And everyone was like, ‘What is happening in that room?'”

Walstrom’s son was born just four days before accepting her award—an award she’s very proud of. 

“It just seemed like the only thing I ever wanted to do and I don’t think I will ever do anything else. This is it for me,” Walstrom said.

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