After 3 years outside of the classroom as a professional learning coach, and 12 years working in secondary education, in 2021 Lacy Rivera decided it was time for a new challenge as an elementary teacher. A new school, new grade level, and new challenges might not sound like the best idea during the middle of a global pandemic, but Rivera has embraced the strength of the team. She is learning something new every day with the help of her collaborative team and the joyful energy of her classroom community.
Previously, Lacy served as the professional learning coach at New Mexico’s Los Lunas High School (LLHS), where she impacted every classroom. She supported teachers through consultation, collaboration and coaching. Keeping a watchful eye on new educators, she tailored her support to their particular challenges. Rivera organized learning walks, lunch-and-learn programs and instructional rounds to give all LLHS teachers the opportunity to observe and learn from each other. The district is working toward becoming a Professional Learning Community (PLC), and Rivera lead that effort at LLHS by helping collaborative teacher teams develop essential standards, formative assessments, data evaluation methods and interventions for students who need additional support. In preparation for the school’s 1:1 MacBook program, so Rivera helped her colleagues incorporate Google Classroom, Clips and other applications into their lesson plans. Further, during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, Rivera lead the charge in supporting all district educators to adapt to the challenges of remote learning, blended learning, and becoming more responsive to social and emotional learning.
In her previous role as an English teacher, Rivera gladly explored, practiced, adopted and modeled new instructional methods. When New Mexico schools first introduced a partnership between College Board and Khan Academy, Rivera piloted the program in her classroom and trained others. She is willing to take risks and try new practices if they help her students learn. Positive and hopeful, Rivera motivates colleagues with unending optimism and a growth mindset, always grounding her suggestions in data and the latest research.
Rivera served on the Guiding Coalition, a group focused on moving instruction forward at LLHS, and helped create its mission, vision, values and goals. She lead monthly workshops on topics like classroom management and parent-teacher partnerships and communication for the district’s New Teacher Support program. Rivera also worked with other coaches in the district, serving as lead for the secondary PLC. New instructional coaches often shadowed and counted her as a mentor. As an instructor at the University of New Mexico, she helped pre-service teachers prepare for careers in education. Though Rivera no longer teaches at LLHS, students seek her out for college recommendations and job shadowing opportunities. Each year seniors who earn an academic letter can recognize an educator who has had an impact on their high school experience; Rivera’s name comes up again and again.
Rivera earned a bachelor’s in English in 2006 and a master’s in secondary education in 2008 from the University of Notre Dame. She is pursuing a doctorate at the University of New Mexico in language, literacy and sociocultural studies.
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2008 M. Ed., Secondary Education, University of Notre Dame
2006 B.A., English, University of Notre Dame