CORRALES, N.M. – Each year, the Southwestern Union recognizes excellence among its educators from the elementary and secondary levels and honors their outstanding contributions with the Excellence in Teaching Award. To qualify for this award, a teacher must demonstrate proficiency in several criteria related to teaching and learning. This year, the Southwestern Union Education Department named the recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2022-2023 school year, and among the Elementary Awards was Melanie Cano from the Texico Conference. Cano has over 10 years of education experience and has been teaching at Sandia View Christian School (SVCS) since 2020. She most recently took on the role of interim principal and will officially serve as principal for the 2023- 2024 school year. Prior to moving to New Mexico, Cano taught in the Central California Conference and came to New Mexico not fully knowing what God had planned for her and her family. However, her family now truly believes that God placed them exactly where He wanted them. “Melanie has always been open to new ideas and very conscientious of how her approach will affect those she works with in the long run,” said Sandra Patterson, Texico Conference superintendent of education. “She is a great team player and has a desire to share the love of Jesus with her students and their families.” According to those who have worked with Cano, her willingness to help in whatever capacity is needed has endeared her to the staff. Her creative teaching style allows students to explore the many aspects of their studies. She has built wonderful relationships with her students who both love and respect her. She is always ready to share her experience and knowledge in technology with her colleagues. In appreciation for her outstanding work in teaching and demonstrated dedication to helping students learn, Cano was awarded $500 from the Southwestern Union and $500 from the Texico Conference. She was also awarded a certificate and a plaque during the eighth-grade graduation ceremony at SVCS last May.