Rebecca Alvarado-Alcantar has been a teacher for 20 years and this year, she can add expert to her resume at Las Cruces Public Schools.  

Alvarado-Alcantar, who teaches special education at Organ Mountain High School, is the only educator from New Mexico to successfully complete the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) program to earn the status as a MIE Expert in the classroom. The designation means that Alvarado-Alcantar is now an MIE Expert when it comes to helping her students think creatively to use technology to push the boundaries of the classroom.  

“I wanted to become an Expert because I am interested in expanding my knowledge of the Microsoft Educator Tools for teachers and students,” said Alvarado-Alcantar. “I started this journey to learn what tools could make the technology transition easier for my students with disabilities, and I love the way that Microsoft is dedicated to accessibility and useability of its products. I see a higher level of engagement with my students, and technology really can complement and enhance the in-person student experience.”  

According to the program, MIE Experts use 21st century teaching and learning initiatives that integrate technology tools to improve student outcomes. Those tools can include apps and computer skills to gain proficiency in today’s computer-driven classroom environment. In addition to the designation as Expert, teachers like Alvarado-Alcantar join a network of professional learning experts that provide coaching and mentoring for continued growth. Alvarado-Alcantar says it was an opportunity to build on her two-decade career and learn new skills that will benefit her students.  

“The process is detailed, but worth the effort,” she said. “I would highly recommend that other teachers apply for next year, and I can help get them started.”  

Alvarado-Alcantar offers professional development sessions for teachers who are interested in becoming MIE Experts. Nominations for the next round of MIE Experts begins in November and runs through January 2022. For more information, visit this link for more details and requirements to join the program.  

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-Kelly Jameson is the public information officer for Las Cruces Public Schools