As we look forward to the remainder of this fall and set our sights on the districts throughout New Mexico and the erupting challenges for the remainder of 2020, it is easy to witness the dedication of our districts’ leadership statewide. I am reminded that the strength of leadership and the commitment of leaders is galvanized by hard times. Such is the case in this school year of 2020-21. More than ever, the need for clear/crisp decisions, thoughtful/forgiving reactions, and consistent/full support are required in daily educational practice in this state.
Today, we are in hard times. We are in a generational crisis that I suspect will be as defining and impactful as the Great Depression on the generation of children in our schools today. The continuing impact of the Corona Virus (COVID) on this generation is placing indelible impressions and setting a pall of uncertainty into the day-to-day lives of this generation. The certainty of “normal” school experiences is replaced with the abnormality of isolation from peers, the impersonality of the teacher-student relationship and the depressive nature of the array of unknowns. Together, these factors are creating an exhaustion of spirit in our students to a level not experienced in our lifetimes, leading to a crisis of optimism and hope.
As the education leadership of this state, we have the capacity to interfere, in a positive way, with this calamity of the times. I have been blessed to be a part of this unique New Mexico fraternity of public educators for more than 47 years. I know the quality and capacity of our fabric. I know that we have persevered through many a rocky and dusty road and together have succeeded through the challenges that have been encountered. Today, more than ever, it is our time to “get to work” and take the reigns and guide our public schools through this gauntlet.
It is time to be proactive, perseverant, and passionate about our mission. With the continuing ebb and flow of remote/hybrid/in-person learning that will be likely for the next 12-18 months, it is time for us to develop and redesign our educational system from the local, grassroots level and care for the educational needs of our youth. It is time for us to assure stability at our schoolhouses and set our schools as the centerpiece of each of our communities. It is our duty and responsibility to assure that every student is connected to us and has us as their azimuth point which assures them that they are not minimized or forgotten. We have the capacity to design our daily practice to support the “whole child” and to wipe away the despair and deprivation created by these times.
Our mission must be to combine all our resources in a focused, productive way to assure that every opportunity for student impact and support is realized in every community, every day. This requires that all our decisions/planning/actions focus first on the child. It requires every ounce of our professional action and attention be productive and reflect our servant leadership. There are 89 stories (each district is unique) to be told and 89 ways to reach the goal line together. And, together, we can and will be successful!
I’m proud to be associated with such a fine group of dedicated leaders and look forward to our resurgence as the dedicated leadership of our New Mexico Public Schools!