Welcome back to School Year 2019-2020! As each of you gear up into the new year, I am excited to stay connected with each of you. I plan on being in as many regions and districts as I can this year to maintain an understanding of the challenges and successes that each of you are experiencing. You each make a difference in our students and, therefore, our state.
We welcome our new Secretary of Education. His name is Dr. Ryan Stuart and his most recent duty was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to meet him personally with the Governor just prior to the official announcement on August 12. We look forward to helping him learn New Mexico and I have offered to take him around as I traverse this great state.
Good news regarding this transition is that the core Cabinet Team that Secretary Karen Trujillo had established is continuing to work hard at moving our joint agenda forward. I provided the Governor with a letter expressing, in part, our support of that team and had the chance to reinforce that support in a face-to-face meeting with her on August 2. (As a side-bar, we congratulate Karen Trujillo who was appointed the Interim Superintendent of the Las Cruces Public Schools beginning on September 10, 2019!)
The NMCEL Board and the NMSSA Executive Council have agreed to a set of Strategic Initiatives that are the next steps in our Strategic Plan adopted in 2018-2019. These will guide our focus for this year and for the Legislative Session of 2020. They are as follows:
1. Adequate/Stable/Sufficient funding including a study to determine what is sufficient funding including programs and positions that are in concert with the Profile of a New Mexico Graduate, which is supported through time with bipartisan support (reaching consensus).
2. Improve and develop the recruitment/retention of all educators through licensure practice, reciprocity, educator pipeline, and recruitment practices including ERB rules so that a fully developed ecosystem is created and enabled through time.
3. Develop a focus and practice which creates “safe schools” environments for all students. This assures that terms such as “at-risk” etc. are redefined and removes denigrating references and upholds the values of every student.
4. Create an opportunity for all students which combines college prep academics with technical/vocational workforce development, so all graduates are workforce ready.
5. Provide a comprehensive definition of “at-risk” and ensure that funding is earmarked and attached to students who meet the criteria and includes the social/emotional support of all students so that obstacles to learning are removed. (PED Priorities Aligned)
Moving forward together, we are certain to keep our focus on our New Mexico students and assure their long-term success.