New America School-Las Cruces’ Lorynn Guerrero will focus on alternative pathways as state teacher of the year

Lorynn Guerrero

Posted Friday, January 28, 2022 4:39 pm

From a New Mexico Public Education Department news release

New Mexico 2022 Teacher of the Year (TOTY) Lorynn Guerrero of Las Cruces will focus on expanding pathways to graduation to create a more individualized experience during her one-year tenure representing the state’s teaching profession, which began Jan. 1.

“The traditional pathway can’t be the only pathway,” said Guerrero, who teaches English language arts at New America School-Las Cruces. “I didn’t really understand before, but my students face so many obstacles. Parenting is just one. They are working jobs to help support their families, and then the one car for a family of seven breaks down. Listening to my students’ stories made me realize it doesn’t matter when you get your high-school diploma as long as you get it.”

Guerrero started a program to help teen parents stay in school at New America School-Las Cruces and would like to see more programs implemented across New Mexico to help students overcome obstacles to graduation.

Guerrero began her teaching career in 2006 in Hatch, where she taught both middle- and high-school students. She joined Organ Mountain High (then Oñate) in Las Cruces in 2012, then moved to the state-chartered New America School-Las Cruces, where 97 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.

Guerrero succeeded 2021 TOTY Alisa Cooper de Uribe of Albuquerque Jan. 1.

New Mexico TOTY was established in 1963. Each year, all New Mexico school districts and charter schools are invited to nominate an outstanding teacher for state TOTY and to represent New Mexico in the national TOTY competition.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association is the program’s title sponsor for the fourth year and will contribute up to $10,000 worth of support and professional development opportunities for Guerrero.

In addition to teaching, Guerrero is currently working on a master’s degree in educational administration, which she expects to complete in May. Her bachelor’s degree in secondary education is from New Mexico State University. Guerrero has a teacher-of-English-as-a-second-language endorsement from Eastern New Mexico and an advanced placement certification in literature and composition from New Mexico Highlands University.