First graders send well wishes to injured teacher

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Her quick action saved her son and an APD service aide from a suspected drunk driver, and landed her in the hospital.

Since the crash nearly a week ago, there’s been an outpouring of support for the hero teacher, including some very special cards from her first-grade class.

First grade teacher Tonya McCullough is a hero in the eyes of her students from John Baker Elementary.

“She has an impact school-wide. She’s just a wonderful teacher and is a pillar in our school community,” said Jill Vice, principal at John Baker Elementary.

Last Wednesday, McCullough was hit by a suspected drunk driver as she pushed her teenage son, and an APD public service aide out of the way.

Her son had just been in a minor crash on Montgomery near Hilton. She was standing on the sidewalk when police say Scott Knowles plowed right into her.

“Oh my gosh … it was hard to know that something bad had happened, because she’s the nicest person,” said Sylvia Romero, health assistant at John Baker.

Since the crash, the teacher’s hospital room has flooded with flowers, including messages straight from the hearts of her first graders with their unedited get well cards, saying “I hope you Phill better,” and “you are in my heart Mrs. McCullough.”

Another student made McCullough chuckle, when he wrote, “I am sore you got wact by a truc.”

“In their world, you know, we just have to reassure them that she was hurt and it was scary, but she’s recovering, and we are just all wishing her the very best,” said Vice.

Vice told KRQE News 13 the school’s phone has been ringing off the hook from people wanting to help the McCulloughs.

A website has been set up to help with their piling medical bills, and dozens have signed up to take her family home-cooked meals.

Meanwhile, her kids at school want one thing for Mrs. McCullough to be back in class.

McCullough was moved to a rehab facility where she’ll likely have to stay for a month. She has several broken bones, including her tailbone, ribs, pelvis, a leg and both arms. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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