Dr. Gary Dwyer
BPS Superintendent retires
The Bernalillo Public School District board of directors accepted the resignation of superintendent Dr. Gary Dwyer on February 10. The board did not announce plans to begin a job search for his replacement.
Dwyer has been on medical leave since August. The nature of his illness is being kept confidential at the request of his family. School board member Jack Torres issued the following statement:
“It is a very sad day for all of us at Bernalillo Public Schools to accept the retirement of Gary Dwyer. Dr. Dwyer joined us nine years ago, and though we welcomed him with opened arms, we had no idea how blessed we were to have him join BPS.
Dr. Dwyer is the ultimate educator. He had adopted BPS as his own and spent countless hours and incredible energy leading our district. He made certain to support student activities with his presence from Placitas to Cochiti. Somehow he managed to find the energy to attend event after event. He seemed to draw his energy from the students.
Dr. Dwyer had a very strong impact on BPS, hundreds of students, staff and community members. His biggest strengths were perhaps to truly listen to others and his overwhelming desire to serve and improve the education of our children.
We will miss Dr. Dwyer’s physical presence but his legacy will continued to be felt by all of us involved with BPS.
Barbara Vigil-Lowder will continue as Acting Superintendent through the remainder of the school year. She said, “Announcing Dr. Dwyer’s retirement is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. There is a void in the district without him. I’ve never seen anybody so focused and driven by what was good for the students. He saw a richness in the community and wanted to bring about programs that would move the students in a positive direction. All of us who worked closely with him know his vision and goals for the district and will work hard to continue what he started.
Charter school prepares to open
Village Academy Charter School
In late January, the Village Academy Charter School (VACS) Governance Council approved a plan to open this fall, starting with up to 54 students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The council hopes to attract back children and students now attending school outside the district. The decision to scale back the school's launch was made only after an intensive effort to locate facilities in the Placitas area made clear how few options were available this year. Beginning next Fall 2006, the public charter school will offer the additional grade levels K-5th. Because Village Academy is a public school, no tuition fees are required.
The extra time will allow for more effective planning to support VACS' lower school implementation. Bernalillo Public School District will also benefit by the additional lead-time to determine how the charter school may affect district resources in the future. District schools are funded based on student counts in prior years, so it is unlikely that funding for Placitas Elementary School will be affected for several more years.
In other actions, the governance council approved the appointment of Egda Delaney, a Placitas resident, to fill a council vacancy left upon the resignation of Suzann Owing. Mrs. Delaney has extensive experience in developing resources for school reform. The council also clarified that the student base to be served will be grades kindergarten-8th , according to the school charter.
Currently, VACS council members are operating out of the former Doorco building. The site is presently under consideration as a potential location for this coming school year. Calvin Rhodes, a senior representative from the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority, met with VACS council members at the Doorco site in February. He conducted a preliminary walk-through and answered questions about the suitability of the space for instruction.
For the past two months, a few Placitas Trails residents have raised concerns regarding the use of the site for a school. At a recent meeting, Fritz Valdez, VACS council vice-chairman, noted the need for more communications. He also pledged his commitment to work cooperatively with residents to ensure that decisions about the potential use of the property will be made in light of accurate information. The school is also pursuing the use of portable buildings to meet space needs.
Village Academy Charter School's academic program is founded on the Core Knowledge Sequence Curriculum, a core and sequence of shared knowledge that students should learn in American schools. Core Knowledge will be used as a framework to address the New Mexico State Content Standards and Benchmarks. The curriculum sequence offers a planned progression of detailed, explicit, year-by-year recommendations for specific high-level content in language arts and grammar; history, social studies, and geography; science, math and the arts.
Technology, language instruction, fitness and health education, as well as extra-curricular opportunities will further support the instructional program and meet the diverse needs of VACS students.
Village Academy's website is now being designed and should be available after mid-March. The governance council will begin to host informational sessions beginning in late March. A formal charter school enrollment period with specific dates and times will be officially announced in the local media. Details will be published on the school's website and posted at locations throughout the area including, but not limited to the Placitas Post Office, Placitas Mini-Mart, Homestead Village and other venues.
The VACS program emphasizes small classes, personal attention and family involvement. If you are interested in more information about student participation, the academic program, and how VACS can address your child's needs, write to Village Academy Charter School, PO Box 1247, Placitas, NM 87043-1247, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to be added to a follow-up, pre-enrollment information list, send your request to the attention of Egda Delaney at the above mailing or email addresses.
Village Academy Governance Council will meet March 2 and 16 at Village Academy Charter School Administrative Offices 45 Dusty Trail, Placitas, New Mexico.
BHS wrestler Erik Yazzie wins state championship
On February 19, Bernalillo High School wrestler Erik Yazzie won the 215-pound State 3A Championship. He is the first state champion wrestler from BHS. In the final round he pinned the defending state champ from Cobre “Yazzie had lost to the Cobre wrestler during the regular season,” said Coach Steve Lucero. “Eric was just awesome. He wrestled a perfect match.”
Lucero said that he expected the team to do better, but they finished seventh overall. Steven Toya placed fourth, Greg Lucero placed third, Pat Lyle placed fourth, Ivan Lucero placed fifth, Constante Gallegos placed fourth.
Eric Powers of Rio Rancho (left) and James Hardin of Alamogordo (right)
meet with Senator Pete Domenici in Washington D.C.
Rio Rancho youth visits Senator Domenici
U.S. Senator Pete Domenici met with Eric Powers (left) of Rio Rancho, who was in Washington as part of the National Young Leadership Council.
Powers, a Bernalillo High School senior, and James Hardin of Alamogordo, met with Domenici outside a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing at which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was testifying about funding for the war in Iraq and tsunami relief. Both boys attended a portion of the hearing.
The NYLC program is designed to teach leadership skills to high school students while they learn more about the Congress. One aspect of the program involves touring Capitol Hill to meet their state's elected representatives.
Placitas Elementary spaghetti dinner and auction a success
The February Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction sponsored by the Placitas Elementary School PTO was a huge success, raising over $4,000, thanks to the generosity of the community. The funds will be used to sponsor teacher appreciation, track and field activities, and the Art in the School program.
The Range Café provided the food for the dinner and John Bagley, of Raley's in Albuquerque, provided the ice cream. Local donors included First State Bank, Clear Light Cedar Company, Anasazi Fields Winery, McColes Pub and Grill, Placitas Dental, Santa Ana Golf Club, Hyatt Tamaya, The Vision Store, Yoga Light, Joseph Romero, Sheelah Casson, Cate Clark, David Gallegos, Juliet Jones, Steve McKibbin, Lynne Kottell, and Judy Knowles.
The PTO thanks all of the many businesses and individuals who contributed to this very special event, as well as to those who attended.
Big Brothers Big Sisters seeks Hispanic volunteers, advisory council members
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico has received national funding for the Hispanic Mentoring Initiative, a new initiative intended to promote participation of the Hispanic population in mentoring programs. HMI seeks to increase Hispanic involvement in order to reflect the actual cultural and racial demographics existing not only in Albuquerque and its outlying areas but nationwide as well.
BBBS-CNM is looking for Hispanic volunteers to serve as mentors for local Hispanic youth and is also accepting nominees for its HMI Advisory Council, a subcommittee of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors. The council will pioneer the agency's efforts to effectively serve Hispanic youth.
“It can be difficult for youth to identify with someone who doesn't share the same cultural values, which is why this initiative is so crucial to the Hispanic population in particular,” says Marissa Juárez, Development Specialist for BBBS-CNM. “By participating in mentoring relationships with Hispanic youth, Hispanic volunteers stand as a cultural connecting point, helping to stress the importance of nuestra herencia in the maturation process.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters, founded in 1904, is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. Locally, the organization serves over eight hundred young people ages six to eighteen from areas throughout Central New Mexico. In 2003, Forbes magazine placed Big Brothers Big Sisters on its Gold Star list of the top ten charities for its excellence and effectiveness. For additional information, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters Web site at www.bbbs-cnm.org. For information on volunteering, contact us at (505) 837-9223.