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Las Cruces High School French teacher Pamela Cort, the 2013 LCPS and New Mexico teacher of the year, with President Obama and other state teachers of the year at the White House. Photos courtesy of Pamela Cort, Las Cruces High School.

LAS CRUCES – 2013 LCPS and New Mexico Teacher of the Year Pamela Cort met President Barack Obama at the White House during her visit to Washington, D.C. April 22-26, 2013, as she attended events honoring individual states’ and the national teacher of the year.

During the trip, Cort also met with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, at the vice president’s home.

At the White House, said Cort, “all the teachers waited in the Roosevelt Room, then went into the Oval Office to take our picture with the President. I spoke French to him – and he responded back!* We then talked about the importance of foreign language education. After that, the President and the National Teacher of the Year, Jeffrey Charbonneau (of Zillah, WA) made speeches in the Rose Garden.” said Cort, who teaches French at Las Cruces High School.

Cort also did an interview with the Washington bureau of KOB-TV (the NBC affiliate in Albuquerque), and visited with U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M. in his office in the Hart Senate Office Building. Later in the week, she and other state teachers of the year visited with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education, “where we discussed the new RESPECT document, a ‘vision of a transformed and improved teaching profession in the U.S.’,” said Cort. (A link to more information about Project RESPECT is below.)

Cort said her visit to the nation’s capital “was the thrill of a lifetime. I wish I could have taken everyone with me to Washington, D.C., but I carried everyone with me in my heart. I am so proud and grateful to represent our wonderful state as the Teacher of the Year,” she said.

For more information, contact Cort at 575.527.9400 or pcort@lcps.k12.nm.us.

*Pam Cort: ”When I spoke French to the President, I said, ‘Bonjour,’ to which he responded, ‘Bonjour.’ My face lit up and I said, ‘Vous parlez francais?’ to which he responded, ‘Un peu’ (which means ‘a little bit’), and then he laughed and said that was it for his French. It was very exciting!”

For more information on Project RESPECT, visit therespectproject-discussiondocument.

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Pam Cort with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

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Pam Cort with 2013 National Teacher of the Year Jeffrey Charbonneau of Zillah, WA.

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Pam Cort with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, at the vice president’s residence in Washington, D.C.

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Pam Cort and state teachers of the year with President Barack Obama at the White House.

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Pam Cort with the President of the United States.