Melanie Alfaro, a sixth-grade math teacher at Deming Intermediate School in Deming, NM was surprised with one of the most prestigious awards bestowed upon educators in the country on Thursday.

The Milken Educator Award is known as the cornerstone award for education excellence. It was established 30 years ago and awards one teacher in each state a $25,000 prize. The Milken Educator Award targets early-to-mid career educators for their already impressive achievements. 

Alfaro is the head of the math department and sits on Deming’s school leadership team. She is a teacher mentor throughout the district, leading professional development and sitting on the math pacing guides and superintendent’s advisory committees. 

She is a Deming native, and a graduate of Deming High School. Alfaro went on to play basketball at New Mexico State University and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. She holds a bachelors in business administration from NMSU and a masters in education from Western New Mexico University.