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A Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico Teacher of the Year Award is given to instructors who have made a difference in their students’ lives, contributed to the advancement of music in their community and is an example of a professional music educator. Teacher of the Year awards are not easy to receive, however, local music teacher Charlene Cox-Clifton has two. She earned her first Teacher of the Year award in Kansas in 1985-1986. The second one was awarded to Cox-Clifton in November during the Professional Music Teacher of New Mexico conference. Cox-Clifton said she is “very honored” to receive the award a second time. “What it says to me is I have made a music educational impact on this state,” she said.The irony is, when Cox-Clifton arrived in Los Alamos in 1992 to retire from teaching. However, a local music teacher asked Cox-Clifton to work with a student and from then on, “I was no longer retired,” she said. Cox-Clifton has been teaching for 55 years. She began by substituting for her high school teacher in the summer before moving on to teaching at Kansas State University, public schools and Wichita State University.
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