Basalt High’s Leticia Ingram is Colorado’s Teacher of the Year

Will Grandbois
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Leticia Guzman Ingram

BASALT — Leticia Ingram, who teaches English language development, history and math at Basalt High School, has been named Colorado’s Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made this morning at an assembly at the high school.

The honor makes her Colorado’s nominee for national teacher of the year, and she will serve as a teaching ambassador to communities and organizations around the state and nation.

David Schmid, former principal at Basalt High School, nominated her on behalf of the school, The Aspen Times reported in September, when she was named a finalist.

“Ticia brings an unbelievable combination of skills to our school, an infinite passion for students, great understanding of different cultures and a mastery of how to help students learn English,” said Peter Mueller, who is in his first year as Basalt High’s principal after Schmid’s retirement. “She shares these skills with students and teachers alike and has built great enthusiasm to our incredibly strong English language development program.”

In naming Ingram a finalist, the selection committee said: “Born and raised in a small town in southwest Texas, Ingram grew up immersed in the Latino culture but unable to speak Spanish. Ingram did not become fluent in Spanish until later in life and believes her own struggle in learning a second language has helped her develop a skill and appreciation for teaching her students to become English proficient.

“After graduating from college, Ingram traveled overseas to work in the Philippines. She later landed at Basalt High School where, as a high school teacher, she provides leadership, expertise and passion in meeting the needs of new students and those learning English. Last year, she started an English language academy for students to focus on language development and immersion into the local community and culture. She believes she has helped the entire school prioritize and meet the challenge of educating all students, even when language is a significant obstacle.”

The other finalists were Jose Martinez III of Bear Creek High School in Jefferson County and Colby Ricci of Breckenridge Elementary School in Summit County.

Ingram received an undergraduate education degree and master’s of science, religion and cross-cultural communication from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas; and a master’s of arts focused on high school English as a second language from Adams State University in Alamosa.

The national teacher of the year will be introduced by President Barack Obama in April.

The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and is considered the most prestigious national honors program recognizing excellence in teaching. The national teacher of the year is chosen from among the state teachers of the year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations.