Basalt teacher is finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year | AspenTimes.com

Basalt teacher is finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year

Staff report

Leticia Guzman Ingram

A Basalt High School teacher is one of three finalists for the Colorado Department of Education's 2016 Teacher of the Year award.

If Leticia Guzman Ingram, an English Language Learners teacher at Basalt High School, is chosen, then she would serve as Colorado's 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, according to Principal Peter Mueller.

"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," Mueller said. "She shares these skills with students and teachers alike and has built great enthusiasm to our incredibly strong English language development program."

Here is what the selection committee had to say about Ingram: "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."

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

The teacher of the year will be announced in late October. The recipient becomes the Colorado nominee for National Teacher of the Year. The selection process includes a written application, letters of recommendation, site visits, endorsements from the teacher's district and personal interviews.

Nominees are judged on their ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities. They are expected to play an active role in the community and to have earned the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.