Editor's note: this blog was originally posted on Los Alamos National Laboratory's website.


This fall, six Northern New Mexico teachers are returning to their classrooms and raising the bar for K–8 math teaching at public schools in Abiquiu, Cuba, Los Alamos, and Pojoaque.

Richard Armentrout, Travis Gibson, April Grant–Torrez, Brett Hawkins, Daniela Romero, and Beth Ziomek comprise the first-ever cohort to graduate with the new Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in K-8 Mathematics Teacher Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University. The degree is a collaboration between the teachers, the University, and the Math & Science Academy at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a professional-development program supporting the teaching of math and science in the region.  

“Armed with new techniques and their own effusive talent, these leaders in math teaching are bound to be sources of education and inspiration,” said Laboratory Staff Director Frances Chadwick. “I extend my thanks to these self-motivated teachers for being catalysts for change in New Mexico’s classrooms and to the leaders at New Mexico Highlands University for collaborating with us on this innovative program.”

“Here at New Mexico Highlands University, we are committed to training teachers to meet today’s challenges,” said President Sam Minner. “There can be no more effective training program than one conceptualized by those in the classroom every day. I thank these forward-thinking students as well as Provost Roxanne Gonzales, Dean Mary Earick, and Dr. Robert Karaba for making their vision a reality.”

The new degree program originated when six teachers participating in the Academy’s Math Teacher Leader Network told their program leaders that they were interested in pursuing advanced degrees in mathematics teaching but could not find any such program. That’s when the Academy collaborated with Highlands to design and build this new Master’s Degree. 

Since its inception 20 years ago, the Math & Science Academy at Los Alamos National Laboratory has graduated more than 600 area educators. Led by Lorenzo Gonzales, Zachary Leonard, Monica Martinez-Archuleta, and Randy Merker, the Academy is part of the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office, a team of about 15 individuals who foster nonprofit giving, economic development, and education in the seven-county area surrounding the Laboratory. These counties are Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos.