Congratulations to Laura Ayotte our October Teachers First Award Winner

10:45 AM, Oct 21, 2022
8:30 AM, Feb 16, 2023

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This month's Teachers First recipient goes to Laura Ayotte, a librarian and teacher at Encompass Heights.

Ayotte has been a full-time librarian for the past three years and has inspired students of all grade levels to read.

Principal Jenny Sturk says Ayotte created a program called Drop Everything and Read, or D.E.A.R. for short. The program brings in people from the community to read to students.

Some people that have come to read to students include grandparents, Olympians, authors, and the Mayor of Colorado Springs.

Ayotte also earned her Masters in Library Sciences to better support the school.

Congratulation, Laura, on being named News5's Teachers First Award for October! If you know a teacher in the community, you would like to nominate, there is a link to do so below.

Teacher’s First Award Qualifications

  • One teacher a month, September through May will be chosen to receive the award.
  • Teachers First recipients will receive $500 for classroom supplies for the following year.
  • They will receive a $100 gift card that may be used at any Salsa Brava or Urban Egg location.


  • To recognize and honor teachers who exemplify excellence in teaching.
  • To encourage and inspire others.
  • To raise the importance of the teaching profession.


  • Must currently teach in a Southern Colorado accredited public or private K-12 school.


Nominations will be accepted all year. Applications received in the summer months will be considered the following semester. Please do not submit additional support materials (photos, DVD’s, audio cassettes)
Nominations must include:

  • The Nomination Form
  • Letter of Nomination

CLICK HERE to submit your nomination online. Nominations can also be submitted by mail - DOWNLOAD THE FORM HERE. Nomination materials will not be returned. Only complete nominations will be considered. The winner will be featured on News5. (Winner, nominee, and school agree to be featured on News5.)


  • Describe specific examples of how this teacher cares.
  • Describe how this teacher provides a positive, stimulating classroom.
  • Explain how this teacher makes a connection with his/her students.
  • Tell what this teacher does that is above and beyond normal duties.
  • Be specific on how the teacher helps develop successful members of the community.

Email nomination and letters of recommendation to -
Use this address for regular mail: Teachers First c/o News5, 2200 7th Ave., Pueblo, Co 81003

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