Tucumcari High School marketing instructor Antonio Pacheco has been named Freedom Newspapers Teachers of the year for Tucumcari this year according to Bernice Ortega of Freedom Newspapers Clovis office.
Ortega, who is in charge of Freedom’s “Newspaper in Education” program said Pacheco was chosen from all the other teachers in the city because he “exemplified all the aspects which we have come to identify with excellence in the classroom.” “Besides,” Ortega added, “he’s just a wonderful person.”
Pacheco’s students agree with Ortega in her evaluation of the high school marketing teacher and Distributive Education Clubs of America sponsor. “He is great,” said DECA president Sandy Maes. “He’s always there for us when we need him. He’s not just telling us what to do, but he’s out there with us too.” Maes’s sentiments were echoed by fellow DECA officer Carla Koehler who said Pacheco was indeed a good teacher. “He’s very good,” said Koehler. “Actually, he’s my favorite teacher, and it’s not like he’s easy or anything. It’s just that he’s, well, all about business.”
Pacheco said he is very honored and rather surprised that he was chosen teacher of the year for Tucumcari by the newspaper group. He said that he has been teaching now for 10 years in his hometown of Tucumcari and enjoys it a great deal. In fact he said that education is a second career for him. Prior to his stepping into the classroom and teaching he spent 30 years in the army. Since he has been at the high school, Pacheco has been a sponsor of the high school’s student council, BPA, LULAC and the academic decathlon team. Throughout all his responsibilities as an educator, the Tucumcari native said he has attempted to maintain a relatively simple educational philosophy.
“It goes back to my time in the military,” said Pacheco recalling a recruiting theme when he was an army recruiter. “I want the students to try to be the best they can be. I want them to challenge themselves.” To help students become their “best” he tries to keep going from all directions, not just from within the classroom. When the students go on field trips, he makes them work out the details of the trip and stay; coming up with budgets, schedules, organizing side trips and trying to anticipate everything they might encounter.
“Many people don’t realize just how educational a trip to the ‘big city’ can be,” said Pacheco.
Pacheco will received a carved marble apple with the words “2003-2004 teacher of the year” carved on its base from the newspaper chain recognizing his accomplishments.