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Who is Roy Biñas Basa, 2024 Teacher of the Year?

The New Mexico Public Education Department, in partnership with the New Mexico Gas and Oil Association, named Roy Biñas Basa as the 2024 New Mexico Teacher of the Year. The announcement, made on December 21, 2023, celebrates Basa’s significant contributions to the field of education and his role as a leading figure in promoting excellence and innovation in the classroom.

Holding a Ph.D. and Master in Educational Management from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in the Philippines, among other degrees, Basa’s academic journey is marked by distinction and a passion for lifelong learning. His extensive qualifications include TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification, an International Teaching License, and numerous accolades that mark his impact on education both locally and internationally.

Who is Dr. Basa?

Basa is an educator at Twin Buttes Cyber Academy in the Zuni Pueblo, the school offers alternative paths to graduation, offering courses that blend online learning, in-person instruction, and specialized career learning.

Basa is recognized for his exceptional teaching methodology, which emphasizes hands-on scientific exploration and engineering innovation. His students have achieved notable success in various competitions, including the 2022 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge and the International HOSA International Research Competition, under his guidance.

Basa’s teaching philosophy is deeply influenced by his personal journey, marked by financial challenges and a determined pursuit of education. He advocates for equitable access to quality education, the integration of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and investment in the professional growth of teachers.

“Education is one of the most potent tools for elevating our economic and social status,” Dr. Basa said. “Despite facing financial challenges in my youth, I persevered and worked hard to obtain my education. My personal experiences have shaped my perspective on teaching, and I am convinced that educators have the power to provide students with exceptional educational opportunities that can transform their lives.”

Basa explained that his approach integrates diverse fields of expertise, including vocational-technical, business, and science education, catering to a wide range of student needs and interests.

Dr. Basa’s commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth extends beyond the classroom. As a published author, he leverages literature and storytelling to enhance student engagement and the understanding of complex scientific concepts. His international experiences enrich his teaching, providing students with broad perspectives and essential intercultural communication skills.

“Integrating literature into science education can significantly boost students’ literacy skills,” Basa explained. “By using stories to inspire creativity and encourage critical thinking, we can ignite a passion for innovation within our students. Witnessing educators and students from different backgrounds come together and exchange ideas is heartwarming. With shared projects, virtual interactions, and international partnerships, students can learn much by interacting with their peers from diverse cultures. Such experiences broaden their horizons and help them develop intercultural communication skills that are essential in today’s world.”

Reflecting on His Career

Reflecting on his teaching career, Basa shared memorable moments such as leading his students in designing renewable energy source prototypes, which he explained demonstrated the transformative potential of education.

One of his major projects involved guiding students through a hands-on project to design and build prototypes for renewable energy sources. “The project involved designing and building prototypes for renewable energy sources fatty acid methyl esters from New Mexico native plant seeds as an alternative biofuel,” he explained. “This project highlighted the depth of my students’ understanding of renewable energy concepts. It showcased their ability to think critically, problem-solve creatively, and communicate effectively – skills essential for success in academia and the workforce. Overall, this teaching moment reminded me of the profound impact that dedicated educators can have on their students’ lives. It was heartening to witness my students’ growth and success throughout the project, and it remains a testament to the transformative potential of quality education.”

Basa’s approach to this challenge was not merely academic; it was a deep dive into the real-world applications of science, encouraging students to think critically about environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and the global impact of their scientific endeavors.

“This experience reinforced my belief that as educators, we have the responsibility to prepare our students not just for academic success, but for their roles as innovators and leaders in addressing global challenges,” Basa explained.

Education Empowers Independence

The 2024 New Mexico Teacher of the Year award adds to Dr. Basa’s long list of accolades, including the 2023 New Mexico Academy of Science Outstanding Science Teacher award and the 2023 Shell Urban Science Educator Development Award. His recognition as a leader in education highlights the impact of dedicated educators in shaping the future of students and communities alike.

As the New Mexico Teacher of the Year, Basa said he will continue to advocate for transformative education and inspire a new generation of learners and educators to pursue excellence and innovation in all aspects of their educational endeavors.

“I believe in empowering individuals to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners,” Basa said. “To achieve this, I always strive to provide the necessary tools and resources to explore new ideas and concepts. My ultimate goal is to inspire a culture of continuous growth and improvement among my students, colleagues, and within myself as an educator. Through dedication, collaboration, and a commitment to excellence, we can create a learning community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.”


While there can only be one Teacher of the Year, New Mexico has some excellent educators across the state. Nominees for this year’s Teacher of the Year included: 

  • Christopher Speck, Albuquerque Public Schools
  • Ray Rodriguez, Rio Rancho Public Schools
  • Christine Holder, Belen Consolidated Schools
  • Veronica Jimenez, Albuquerque Public Schools
  • Drew Sedrel, Albuquerque Public Schools
  • Melissa Lengstorf, Reserve Independent School District