Pay It 4ward: Kind teacher recognized for helping inmates rebuild future

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LOS LUNAS, N.M. – Teachers build the future, but there are some in New Mexico who are helping rebuild those futures. KOB 4 introduces you to a pair who were tailor-made for the task.

This isn’t your typical classroom and these aren’t your typical students. This classroom is inside the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas and the students are inmates closing in on the end of their sentences.

“They’re getting immersed in what’s going on in the world and their communities too because I think we have to stay really down to earth and teach people how to get along day to day,” said Kimberly Wrightson.

Kimberly Wrightson helps teach inmates all high school subjects from social studies to writing, with the hope of setting them up for success when they get out.

“Get out into the community and be successful people that can support their families and support themselves and be a positive influence to everyone,” said Wrightson. 

She teaches alongside Marsha Cline whose been an educator for 25 years.

“Marsha’s the kind of person who really believes that our inmates can be a success in the community,” Wrightson said. 

The ultimate goal is for the inmates to leave the program with a GED, one Cline has taken to heart. 

“She’s enthusiastic, she remodeled our whole room, she’s gotten the college program going and she’s excited every day. She motivates the staff and teachers,” said Wrightson. 

So Wrightson decided to motivate Cline by Paying it 4ward with $400.

“I’ve been asked what is your favorite class? And I always have to say, ‘the class that I’m teaching right now,’” said Cline. 

It might not be a typical classroom, but it’s one that’s honored to have Cline as one of its leaders.

“Why not get up caring about the world and caring about others? It just makes your day happier and it makes the day easier and hopefully, you’re helping people along the way. You never know for sure if you are but you just keep going for it,” said Cline.