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Teacher of the Month: From test tubes to textbooks

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Crownpoint High teacher helps students engage in learning

Each month, the Sun recognizes a local teacher for his or her determination to help students go above and beyond. Anyone can nominate a teacher by emailing the Sun at

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and providing the teacher’s name, where they teach, and why they should be selected as that month’s winner.

This month’s award went to Shelia Ganzon, who teaches health sciences and chemistry at Crownpoint High School.



Ganzon didn’t always want to be a teacher. She was originally working as a chemist in a lab in the Philippines. But after a change of heart, she decided to go into teaching.

She taught in the Philippines for almost 15 years before deciding to move to the U.S.. Her family moved to McKinley County, and she began teaching at Crownpoint Middle School.

After four years at the middle school, Ganzon decided she wanted something different, so she and her family moved to San Francisco, California in 2019.

“I wanted a change and a different environment. But it’s much better here than in California. There’s more diversity in the student population,” Ganzon said. “Discipline was also kind of an issue [in California].”

She moved back to New Mexico in 2020, and transitioned to Crownpoint High School, and she’s been there ever since.



Ganzon said her favorite part about teaching is watching her students pick up the skills she is teaching.

“[My favorite part about teaching] is when I see that my students are learning and taking what I am teaching them and turning it into real-life application,” she said.

She leads a few of the School of Health Sciences classes, as a part of the Gallup-McKinley County Schools’s Career Pathways program. She said watching her students prepare for the medical field is something she really enjoys.

But the hardest part for Ganzon is when she cant get students on board and engaged in learning.

“The hardest part about teaching is when you see those students who lack motivation to attend school. They’re just there for the sake of being there, but they’re not really integrating what they’re learning into their lives,” she said.

Besides teaching students, Ganzon also takes time out of her busy schedule to mentor new teachers. Crownpoint High School Dean Cristina Tolentino said Ganzon is very helpful and a true asset to the high school.

“Her dedication to what she’s doing makes her a great teacher. She is deeply passionate about the subject matters that she’s teaching her students. She is very open and willing to help others as well,” she said.

By Molly Ann Howell
Managing Editor