Educator of year uses newspaper as teaching tool

CNJ staff

Gattis Junior High School teacher Dennis Padilla has been chosen as the Clovis News Journal Newspapers in Education teacher of the year.

“I’m ecstatic about being chosen,” Padilla said, “but at the same time I’m humbled because there were so many others who were deserving.”

Nominated by their principals, the teacher of the year is chosen based on curriculum usage and creative modification of the material, said Lynn Berry, NIE coordinator.

Padilla said he has been in education for the past eight years, the last four at Gattis Junior High.

He teaches seventh-grade English, honors literacy and journalism.

The 31-year-old Portales resident said the newspaper is a great classroom tool.

“We model our school paper after the Clovis News Journal,” Padilla said, “and our goal is to have an award-winning school newspaper.”

Simple grammar checks and article reviews are other lessons Padilla assigns the students to do using a newspaper.

“The students love it because when they are done with the assignment, they can read the funnies,” he said, “and that’s a great carrot to them.”

When he isn’t teaching, the father of three said he enjoys spending time with his family and playing drums at the church.
And teaching is on his favorite things to do list as well.

“My favorite thing about teaching is that I am touching the future,” Padilla said, “and not too many people get to say that.”