As the professional learning coach at New Mexico’s Los Lunas High School (LLHS), Lacy Rivera impacts every classroom. She supports teachers through consultation, collaboration and coaching. Keeping a watchful eye on new educators, she tailors her support to their particular challenges. Rivera organizes 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 leads 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. The school is preparing for a 1:1 MacBook program, so Rivera has helped her colleagues incorporate Google Classroom, Clips and other applications into their lesson plans.
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. Last year Rivera co-developed an intervention program for use by Algebra I teachers at LLHS; by year’s end, student scores rose 20% on PARCC math assessments. Further, thanks to Rivera’s support, LLHS saw a boost in teacher retention last year.
Rivera has served on the Guiding Coalition, a group focused on moving instruction forward at LLHS, and helped create its mission, vision, values and goals. She leads monthly workshops on topics like classroom management and parent-teacher partnerships and communication for the district’s New Teacher Support program. Rivera also works with other coaches in the district, serving as lead for the secondary PLC. New instructional coaches often shadow and count her as a mentor. As an instructor at the University of New Mexico, she helps pre-service teachers prepare for careers in education. Though Rivera no longer has a classroom 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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