Taking home top honors at the New Mexico Music Educators Association’s (NMMEA) annual awards program, Joseph Flores, director bands at Zia Middle School and Sarah Schlotterbeck-Silva, music teacher at Monte Vista Elementary School, were recognized for their extensive contributions to the music education community in New Mexico.

Flores received the awards program’s most prestigious honor, the Music Educator of the Year award, and Schlotterbeck-Silva received the Dr. John M. Batcheller Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary School Music.

“We’re honored that these distinguished educators continue to share their time and talents with their students, colleagues and the community at-large,” said LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing. “As these awards indicate, they have the willingness to go above and beyond for their students and they maintain a high standard for music education in our state.”

As part of the recognition, both teachers received a commemorative plaque and recognition at the 73rd NMMEA All-State Music Festival and In-Service Conference, January 4-7 in Albuquerque, NM. They will also receive recognition in the New Mexico Musician magazine and recognition at a school board meeting.

Joseph Flores

 Joseph Flores, director of bands at Zia Middle School

“Although Mr. Flores is new to Zia this school year, his dedication to providing quality music education was apparent from day one,” said Zia Middle School Principal Heather Kingery. “He is a wonderful educator and musician, and we are lucky to have him on the Zia team.”

During his approximately 19-year career as a music teacher in the Southwest, Flores has spent almost 17 years teaching music at schools throughout Las Cruces. Flores holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting, both from New Mexico State University.

Throughout the years Flores has led several of his performing arts groups to win statewide championships and a variety of accolades and awards. In 2016, Flores received a Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence from the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico.

Sarah Schlotterbeck-Silva, music teacher at Monte Vista Elementary School

Sarah Schlotterbeck-Silva, music teacher at Monte Vita Elementary School

“Sarah’s ability to create meaningful, engaging musical experiences, gives her students a real sense of excitement and confidence,” said Monte Vista Elementary School Principal Theresa Jaramillo Jones. “She has been instrumental in supporting and developing our school culture of leaders and learners.”

Schlotterbeck-Silva has spent roughly 18 years teaching music in Las Cruces, the past 13 of which, she spent teaching music classes at several LCPS schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education, both from New Mexico State University.

In order to be selected for the awards, both teachers had to meet strict eligibility requirements, demonstrate significant contributions to the field of music education, demonstrate outstanding relationships with students, teachers, music educators, administrators and the community, and have a record of active participation in NMMEA at the local and state levels.

Award recipients were chosen by a panel of NMMEA executives who selected honorees from a pool of nominees throughout New Mexico

Both awards were created in the mid-1980’s as a way to recognize outstanding music education teachers, according to NMMEA Executive Director Don Gerheart. The Dr. John M. Batcheller Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary School Music was named in honor of John Batcheller, former music professor at the University of New Mexico.

The NMMEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of music education through public, private and parochial schools and other educational institutions of New Mexico.