Nov 30, 2021 - News

The hands-on approach of Colorado's teacher of the year in 2022

Autumn Rivera during a field trip with her students from Glenwood Springs Middle School. Photo courtesy of Autumn Rivera
Autumn Rivera during a field trip with her students from Glenwood Springs Middle School. Photo courtesy of Autumn Rivera

Colorado's teacher of the year took her students on a Colorado River expedition and helped them campaign to preserve a mountain lake.

Driving the news: Meet Autumn Rivera, a 6th grade science teacher at Glenwood Springs Middle School. The 16-year educator grew up outside Glenwood Springs and Gypsum and attended Colorado College.

  • She started teaching at the middle school nine years ago, where she is the track coach as well. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Colorado Mountain College, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.
  • Rivera says she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher.

What she loves: Her highlights include teaching about the Colorado River as part of an expedition.

  • "Students investigated the river's health by looking at macroinvertebrates, such as mayflies or caddisflies, exploring watersheds by creating them in the riverbank, and finally, rafting the Colorado River," she says.

How she handled COVID: Rivera called it the most difficult time in her career. "I have found it more important than ever to focus on my relationships with students. … Many people do not realize the impact that going to one game, recital, or performance has on student-teacher rapport," she says.

Read more about Rivera from our partners at Chalkbeat

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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