Sue Fleming, longtime Placitas Elementary School teacher, bids a
fond farewell to Bernalillo Public Schools.
Placitas Elementary teacher Sue Fleming
retires after thirty-year career
—DIANE EVANKO, PLACITAS
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTO
Sue Fleming, a fourth-grade teacher at Placitas Elementary School,
retired from her teaching career this year after thirty years in
the education field.
After receiving her BA degree in English and elementary education
from State University College in Brockport, New York, she moved
to New Mexico, where she attended UNM and received her master’s
in elementary education. Her first teaching job was the fourth grade
at Navajo Elementary School, on the reservation in the Gallup-McKinley
school district. After one year, she moved on to a position as a
Chapter One Reading teacher at Santa Domingo, where she spent nine
years. She then moved to PES, where she has been for the past twenty
years, and has taught first, third, fourth, and fifth grade.
Growing up in New York, Ms. Fleming had always known that she
wanted to be a teacher. She found herself “playing school”
quite often as a child, and when she was old enough she took summer
positions as a camp counselor and then as a teacher's assistant
for the summer program at her high school.
Teaching fourth grade was her passion, and her favorite part about
teaching was working with the kids and having fun with them. She
enjoyed teaching both reading and math. And always fun-loving, she
would never hesitate to join in the events on Field Day. Her favorite
Field Day activity? Why, the Wet Sponge Toss, of course! Ms. Fleming
felt very fortunate to be able to teach at PES, a relatively small
school, where everyone knew each other and they all participated
in things together.
Ms. Fleming will never forget her first year of teaching. She
really went “outside the box” and grew a lot that year.
Her fourth-grade class was to get tetanus shots, and as the teacher,
she was the one who had to go first. Unbeknownst to her students,
she was deathly afraid of shots, but as the teacher she had to overcome
that and put on a very brave face! That was just the first of many
learning and growing experiences for her through the years.
One of her favorite memories is doing the Crest Trail Challenge
with her fourth-fifth combo class and Linda Hanna, a counselor/resource
teacher at PES. The eleven-mile hike was challenging and fun for
her as well as for her students. Going through something like that
together is what learning is all about for Ms. Fleming.
She has such wonderful memories of all her students and she loves
that a lot of them, some of whom are now in high school, college,
or already in their professional careers, come back to visit her
now and she can actually see how grown-up they are and that she
had something to do with that!
After so many years of making a difference in so many lives, it's
hard to believe Ms. Fleming is retiring. While she has no specific
plans for the future, she does think she may get into volunteering
with programs like Habitat for Humanity or maybe even working with
premature babies at the UNMH neonatal unit.
For right now, though, she just wants to enjoy her summer and
she would love to win the lottery and be able to travel the world.
Whatever her future holds, you can bet that Ms. Fleming is not done
making a difference!
Village Academy will open in Bernalillo
—ROSANNE EAKIN, CHAIRPERSON, VACS
A second federal grant of $150,000 has been awarded to Village Academy
Charter School. Also, the Bernalillo Public School Board approved
Village Academy's new operating budget last month.
The new charter school, serving grades six through eight, will open
this summer in leased facilities at property managed by the First
Assembly of God Church in Bernalillo. Plans for a proposed building
to house the school at a site next to Highway 165, east of I-25,
fell through last month, during a county planning-and-zoning meeting.
The Village Academy Facilities Committee is pursuing other options,
however, to accommodate a growing charter-school student population.
Student applications will continue to be accepted this summer until
enrollment quotas are filled.
In the meantime, the governance council is preparing the recently
leased facility to receive charter-school students and deliver instructional
services at the beginning of the fall 2006 term. The two federal
grants Village Academy received will be applied to help furnish
and equip the school, as well as to purchase supplemental instructional
materials, supplies, and instructional technology. Parents and volunteers
are encouraged to work with the governance council and facilities
committee to help set up operations at the new site.
Interviews are now being scheduled for charter-school positions.
Village Academy will be hiring employees for the fall term, including
a principal/head of school, New Mexico-licensed teachers, and administrative
support and clerical staff. (Please see position descriptions posted
on the charter school Web site, www.villageacademyplacitas.com,
at community locations, and in local media.) Resumes can be sent
via e-mail or posted to: Village Academy Charter School, P. O. Box
1247, Placitas, NM 87043 or email@example.com.
Since the charter school was authorized in November 2004, an interim
governance council has been the site-based decision-making and planning
body. With the charter school now opening for the 2006-2007 fiscal
year, the interim council has been superseded by an operational
governance council. The new slate of council members will be announced
Public governance-council meetings are held the second and fourth
Wednesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the community center at
San Antonio Mission Church. Interested individuals are encouraged
to attend the public meetings to obtain information and offer suggestions.
For further information regarding student enrollment, parent or
volunteer participation, employment, and the Core Knowledge Curriculum,
visit VACS' Web site, www.villageacademyplacitas.com.
Placitas Library has a new certified librarian
The library board and volunteers would like to congratulate Suanne
Bryden on becoming a New Mexico State Library Certified Librarian.
Passing this test involves many hours of study and considerable
knowledge of library operations. Suanne is critical to the very
core of this library. She not only staffs the library one or more
days a week but she trains new volunteers and is the coordinator
and primary processor of books as they enter our data base. Due
to her efforts and those of her team, the library is now using our
automation system (over six thousand titles have been entered).
We plan to have our catalog on-line this fall.
Our second annual Birthday Bash was an outstanding success and
great fun, even in the hundred-degree heat. The Howling Dog Dixieland
Jazz Band set a marvelous tone, and Kangaroo Katie delighted young
and old with her “Magical Tribute to Reading.” Special
thanks go to the two families who adopted dogs from Placitas Animal
Keep New Mexico Beautiful Foundation gave the library a grant
to landscape the play yard. We are most grateful to them and to
Gail DellaPelle, Judy Gajkowski, and John Flores for donated labor
and expertise to install the plantings.
Inspired and coordinated by Bill Dunmire, several Placitas Library
volunteers have been having a wonderful time reading to the children
at Peanut Butter and Jelly Daycare in Bernalillo. Please call the
library if you are interested in joining them or in reading at the
The summer reading program is off to an energetic start. We have
over twenty children registered for the reading challenge (How many
books can you read or have read to you this summer?). We are well
on our way to the library's goal of three hundred—-thanks
in large part to voracious readers Alexandra and James Hogan. You
can still sign up anytime throughout the summer. Thursday mornings
from 10:00 to11:30 we have a story-and-craft hour, geared to ages
three to eight, but all children are welcome.
The library wish list includes a volunteer computer guru and someone
with connections to a sign company. Call 867-3355 if you can help.
Library Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00
Story Time: Thursday, 10-11:30 a.m.
Bernalillo student elected governor of state YMCA
Youth and Government Program
JuanCarlo Sanchez is an upcoming senior at Rio Rancho High School,
where he has been part of the Youth and Government Program for the
past two years. Recently he was elected 2006-2007 Governor for the
New Mexico YMCA’s Youth and Government program, a national
program involving over fifty-five thousand teens in model-government
Teens meet in their local clubs throughout the year to discuss
and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and propose
possible legislation to make state government efficient. The program
culminates with the teens serving as delegates at their legislative
session, debating bills on the floor of the Assembly and Senate.
The goal of the program is to develop young men and women who
will be better citizens by being both knowledgeable and active in
determining the future of our democracy.
This summer, JuanCarlo will travel to Washington, DC, and North
Carolina to take part in the YMCA Youth Governors’ Conference
and the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs. He will have
the opportunity to do research in an area of national or international
concern, organize this information in a documented proposal, and
engage in intensive discussion and debate with other outstanding
young people from other states. In his senior year at Rio Rancho
he would like to promote Youth and Government and convince more
high-school students to get involved in our government and our nation’s
Cochiti School receives NWF funds for a school-yard
The National Wildlife Federation Awarded $500 to Cochiti School
to establish a school-yard habitat. The funds will be used as seed
money to create habitats consisting of indigenous plants that will
be used for educational projects.
At the elementary school level, students will cultivate vegetables
used in traditional Hispanic and Native American dishes. Squash,
beans, corn, and other vegetables will be grown in large containers
near the classrooms. In addition, the elementary students hope to
plant a butterfly garden to attract and hatch butterflies.
At the middle-school level, students will cultivate native plants
for traditional and ceremonial uses, as well as for food and beverages.
Plants could be used to make pottery paint and or used for ceremonial
purposes when learning about traditional customs. Science, math,
and language-arts teachers will use the habitat to teach class concepts.
“I know that I will need to aggressively attract more funds
to supplement the cost of this project,” said Belle Rehder,
Cochiti Middle School science teacher. “But I am proud of
this first step! We will begin these projects in the fall.”
The National Wildlife Federation's mission is to inspire Americans
to protect wildlife for our children's future.
Teach English to an adult
Interested in tutoring an adult to speak English as a Second Language?
Now is your chance! Once you've completed the 18-hour training,
the commitment is just two hours once a week. ReadWest will train
you for free, match you with an adult who wants to learn and support
you along the way with materials, advice, a place to tutor, and
lots of appreciation. You do not have to speak another language
to teach someone to speak, read and write English!
The next training is July 12 (orientation) 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
or 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., July 15 and 22, ending with a two-hour observation
at your schedule the following week. All sessions complete the 18-hour
certified training provided by the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy.
All sessions are at the ReadWest location; 2009 Grande Blvd., Rio
Rancho. Call ahead or just attend the orientation to sign up.
ReadWest has served over 400 adults this past year in the Adult
and Family Literacy Programs. For further information, contact Susan
Ryerson, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hosts needed for exchange students
ASSE International Student Exchange Programs is seeking local
host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around
The students are fifteen to eighteen years of age and are coming
to this area for the upcoming high-school year or semester. These
personable and academically select exchange students speak English
well, are bright, curious, and anxious to learn about the United
States by living as part of your family, attending high school,
and sharing their own culture and language with you.
The exchange students arrive from their home country shortly before
school begins and return home at the end of the school year or semester.
ASSE students are fully insured, bring their own personal spending
money, and expect to bear their share of household responsibilities,
as well as being included in normal family activities and lifestyles.
The students are well screened and qualified by ASSE. Families
may select the youngster of their choice from extensive student
applications, family photos, and biographical essays. There are
hundreds of students to choose from.
To become a host family or find out more about
ASSE and its programs, call 1-800-733-2773.