Doña Ana Community College (DACC) faculty member Leilani Benoit was awarded as the 2019 Teacher of the Year, as named by the New Mexico Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE®). Benoit is a professor in Computer & Information Technology.
The award was given at the New Mexico ACTE® conference held in Ruidoso June 12-14.
Benoit, a Las Cruces native, earned bachelor and master degrees from New Mexico State University. She began her teaching career at DACC in a part time position in 2000 and became a full-time faculty member in 2004.
She is also the adviser for the DACC Women in Technology Club which she originally sponsored in 2006. Benoit has seen her female students succeed including those who are now employed with the Army Research Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Intel, Sandia National Laboratories, USAA and Beasley Mitchell to name a few. Currently, another student from the Club is among the first summer interns at Virgin Galactic in southern New Mexico.
“I am very humbled to receive the “Teacher of the Year” award, Benoit said.
In the classroom Beniot uses a hands-on approach in combination with the latest simulation software and trending technologies. She knows that time spent outside of the classroom is very important to student success. “I’ve spent a large amount of time helping students apply for scholarships, work in the community with computer clinics and participate in club events,” Benoit said. “We have traveled to the Intel Plant in Rio Rancho, White Sands Missile Range and many SkillsUSA competitions.”
The ACTE® Member Awards recognize excellence and dedication within the field of career and technical education. The Teacher of the Year award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.
“The employment opportunities in New Mexico and across the United States creates a demand for skilled students in information technology, computer science and cybersecurity,” said Jon Juarez Department Chair for Computer & Information Technologies. “This field also needs to diversify the workforce. Ms. Benoit serves as an example and a role model for women who seek degrees in cybersecurity, information technology and computer science.”