One University of New Mexico educator is taking on a bold, new national role in the teaching world.
Cheryl Torrez, chair of the Department of Teacher Education, Educational Leadership and Policy in UNM’s College of Education & Human Sciences (COEHS) has just been elected President of the Association for Teacher Educators (ATE) for 2024-2025.
Torrez, who has been a member of ATE for 20 years, will first transition to first vice president of the organization through 2024 after a national vote. After serving a year as president, she will spend an additional year serving on the executive board as past president.
“One of my professional passions has been to advocate for and support K-12 educators across the professional life span, from teacher candidate to veteran teacher to ensure that all educators can meet the ongoing needs of our students and society,” Torrez said. this aligns with the purposes and goals of ATE, with our teacher education goals at UNM and with the purposes of teacher education in New Mexico.”
Torrez will be responsible for a plethora of responsibilities including leading two national conferences, while also working with editors to develop and publish a new Handbook of Research on Teacher Education. A big focus of that is ensuring education is quality for all students, no matter what.
“Social justice and equity are moral endeavors that allow us to contribute to a more just and equitable society for all. Ideally, we can collectively eradicate unequal opportunities for learning that exist. We can see classrooms and schools become spaces in which students develop agency, academic capacities, and moral/ethical commitments to shape their place in the world,” she said.
Torrez says her achievement could not have been possible without COEHS.
“The opportunities to serve in a variety of activities as a faculty member at UNM has allowed me to see organizational leadership from different perspectives and to always try to engage in leadership and administrative duties with a view towards the situational context of all involved parties, particularly with how decisions affect students,” she said.
There are already efforts underway to make more connections between ATE and UNM moving forward.
“One way we address these issues at UNM and within ATE is by continuing to strengthen PK-12/university/community partnerships. The University of New Mexico has a strong presence now within ATE and members from across the country have contacted me wanting to know more about our programs and degrees that support educators across the professional life span,” Torrez said.
The Association of Teacher Educators was founded in 1920 and is the only national, individual membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education for both school and campus-based teacher educators. Today ATE members represent nearly 1300 teacher educators in colleges, universities, school districts, and state education agencies within 41 regional and state-affiliated units and U.S. Territories. UNM’s College of Education & Human Sciences sends its congratulations for Torrez.
“As the College of Education and Human Sciences engages in hiring new faculty in this academic year, I am confident that teacher educators across the country will be interested in applying for some of our positions as UNM is highlighted within the Association of Teacher Educators,” Torrez said.