N-CCS Beginning Teacher of the Year

Y.A.We are thrilled to announce that one of our very own Shuford Owls has been selected as the recipient of the Newton-Conover City Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year award. Read more to learn why we and the District believe that Ms. Almanza is truly deserving of this recognition.


“Ms. Almanza worked really hard this week to create an inclusive classroom space. She has books displayed around her classroom to celebrate different cultures.  Ms. Almanza and the rest of the 3rd grade team have been intentional about planning lessons and activities focused around Hispanic Heritage Month.”

- Leadership Team (Ignitor of the Week) 


Ms. Almanza works extremely hard to be prepared to deliver the best instruction possible to her students. She utilizes multiple strategies during her instruction to maximize student learning. She has mastered her classroom management by setting routines for her students.

Ms. Almanza praises students when they ask great questions. She celebrates with students and communicates how proud she is of them. She displays lots of smiles and high fives, showing students how much she cares about them throughout the day. 

Ms. Almanza recognizes her students' diverse needs and intentionally implements strategies and procedures to support student learning. She intentionally incorporates culturally relevant materials into her classroom and recognizes her students' cultural needs. She models the expectation that we embrace diversity in the classroom and personalize instruction for students. She takes a warm approach by setting high expectations for students but also interacting with them in a positive and nurturing manner. Ms. Almanza utilizes data to provide different student support and uses her time equitably to meet all her students' needs.

Ms. Almanza is diligent about providing differentiated instruction to meet all her students' needs. Additionally, she provides culturally responsive instruction to meet the needs of our diverse learners. The environment of her room is one of inclusion and acceptance of everyone. She eagerly accepts and implements new tools, programs, and strategies.  For example, she has encouraged members of our grade level to embrace and use more AI tools. She supports our team in implementing the LETRS vocabulary routine as we all teach new vocabulary words from Wonders. 


Ms. Almanza’s classroom is inviting and fun. She has multiple learning spaces in her room for students to use. Ms Almanza builds positive relationships with her students through continual attentiveness to both personal and academic student needs. She has developed a rapport with each student’s family, making the students and the parents comfortable sharing struggles and successes. Likewise, she incorporates daily morning meetings that foster a feeling of inclusion and create a safe space for learning. It is clear that there are clear procedures set in place for students when completing tasks and that Ms. Almanza holds each student to high academic expectations, understanding their abilities and providing additional support to students when needed.

Example: Ms Almanza incorporated an altar in her room during the Day of the Dead holiday. She encouraged students to share photos of deceased loved ones to place on the altar together.  This helped students to learn about cultural differences and celebrations. 


Ms. Almanza has taken on leadership at the school level by being a part of the Personalized Learning Team and contributing to the revisions and implementation of the Instructional Framework used at Shuford. Ms. Almanza also works with her grade-level team to plan collaboratively for all subject areas, bringing new ideas and resources to promote student learning. In addition to collaborative grade-level planning time, Ms. Almanza also participates in Professional Learning Communities, where she and the team make data-based decisions about her students that will promote their success in third grade and throughout their school career. Ms. Almanza gives her input about students' struggles and successes during MTSS meetings to ensure that student's needs are being met and that strategic and intensive support is being given to her students who need it.

Ms. Almanza is currently participating in Professional Development aligned with the School's Instructional Framework for Feedback on ways to provide timely feedback to students using various techniques throughout the instruction and small group. Hence, students feel encouraged and supported in meeting their learning goals. Ms. Almanza also incorporates strategies from the state-mandated professional development LETRS into her literacy instruction.

Ms. Almanza is bilingual and can provide extra support to her students educationally and their families in communication and ensuring that there is support and understanding of students’ performance at home. Ms. Almanza is also willing to help translate or communicate with other Spanish-speaking families when there is a need for other staff or the front office.

Ms. Almanza works with other staff members, including the exceptional children’s teacher, school counselor, instructional coach, principal, and assistant principal, to meet students' needs both in and outside school. She intentionally follows each of her student's Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). She builds a positive rapport with them so that all students know they have a safe and nurturing place to learn and succeed with the support of their teacher.