Funds help bring successful Golden Apple teacher preparation program to New Mexico.

A collective of Northern New Mexico foundations—including the Thornburg Foundation,  Thoma Foundation, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation— provided nearly $1 million in grants to support The Golden Apple Scholars in New Mexico, a program that will help alleviate the state’s urgent teacher shortages. The Scholars program creates a new teacher pipeline in New Mexico that recruits the earliest stage of aspiring teachers, high school seniors through college sophomores. 

“Over the 30-year history of our Scholars program, we have helped 2,000 students become teachers. We are grateful to these generous foundations that deeply care about the teacher shortage crisis for their support in bringing our program to New Mexico,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. 

The Scholars program provides a robust support network with paid professional development, classroom teaching experience, job placement support, and a participation stipend. Award-winning New Mexico teachers will also mentor scholars as they go through the program. 

Across New Mexico, school districts are struggling with a multi-year teacher shortage crisis. A 2021 report from the New Mexico State University’s Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center found over 1,000 vacant teaching positions, nearly double the number of vacancies in 2020.  

“An overwhelming body of research demonstrates the critical influence of effective educators on student achievement, especially when it comes to supporting students of color and those from low-income families,” said Allan Oliver, Executive Director of the Thornburg Foundation. “Efforts like the Scholars program are part of the long-term solution to both the current teacher shortage and successful educational outcomes for future New Mexico students.”

As a nonprofit, Golden Apple programs are sustained by investments by grants, private donors, and government support. 

“We are excited to be partnering with Golden Apple in collaboration with so many other local funders who see value in finding a long-term solution to New Mexico’s teacher shortage,” said Holly Harrison, Thoma Foundation Director. “We especially appreciate Golden Apple’s attention to the challenge of teacher retention in non-metro areas of the state, and that their model provides the support that rural teachers need to succeed and thrive.”

“The LANL Foundation recently completed a research project on teacher retention that interviewed or surveyed over 740 teachers and 565 students from 32 Northern New Mexico districts,” said Jenny Parks, President and CEO of the LANL Foundation. “From our research we know that teacher recruitment and retention is imperative for the future of excellent schools in Northern New Mexico.  Our investment in Golden Apple will help address this problem by supporting workforce development in one of the most rewarding careers ever: teaching.” 

New Mexico residents who are high school seniors, freshmen or sophomores in college, or enrolled in community college are eligible to apply now at Referrals of students from community members are also encouraged. Referrals may be made by visiting

Additional support for the program was made available by the W.K.Kellogg Foundation and the J.F. Maddox Foundation. 


About Golden Apple

Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop, and support teacher and school leader excellence, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Our vision is for every classroom to have a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout New Mexico.