New teachers join Tucumcari faculty

TV Hagenah

The Tucumcari School System hired seven new teachers at their three schools. Two are teaching at the elementary school. One is teaching at the middle school and four are at the high school.

Elementary School

Brenda Spinks
Hometown girl Brenda Spinks is a former legal assistant from Amarillo who will be teaching kindergarten this year. She received her education at Eastern New Mexico University in Portalas and graduated in 2003.
Spinks said her hobbies include Reading and “attending my kids sporting events.”
The new elementary school teacher said she is very impressed with everyone around her at TES.
“They are wonderful, very supportive, enthusiastic, willing to help in any way,” said Spinks.
She is married to James Spinks and has two children.

David Mardo
David Mardo originally of Clarion, Pa. comes to TES following nine years in banking. He will be teaching pre-first grade. Mardo had his education at Mesalands Community College and Eastern New Mexico University from which he graduated in 2004.
Mardo said his hobbies are music and art and spending time with his family which includes his wife Laura and two children. He said he also enjoys camping.
Mardo said he too has found the people at TES extremely supportive.
“They have been so welcoming and accommodating – invaluable,” said Mardo. “I’m very excited about my students and the experiences we will share this year.

Middle School

Donald S. Garcia
Hometown boy Donald S. Garcia is the only new teacher at the middle school and will be teaching eighth grade and special education. He comes to the system following seven years with Mental Health Resources where he worked with SDMI and SED populations. He also was a JCC officer and treatment foster care Coordinator with TeamBuilders for two and a half years.
Garcia said he enjoys sports for relaxation and also enjoys “spending time with my family and friends.”
His family is made up of his wife Tina and his son.
Garcia said he is enjoying working with his coworkers at the middle school and looks forward to spending the year interacting with them.
“The staff at TMS are very helpful and offer support when needed,” said Garcia. “The students have several interests and it’s educational to learn about each of them.”

High School

Rhonda Gutierrez
Rhonda Gutierrez comes to Tucumcari High School following six years teaching at Ramah High School in Ramah. She will be teaching world history, government and economics this year.
Gutierrez said she enjoys writing, going to church and being with her family which includes four children and husband Richard.
Gutierrez said she has a number of hopes for the year but for the most part, “My hopes are always to teach writing and enjoyment of learning through the curriculum.”
She said she looks forward to a good year at the high school.
“Mostly I enjoy the students and overall I am pleased with the staff.”

Bobby G. Laird, Jr
Bobby Laird, originally of Houston joins the Tucumcari staff following a year of teaching science at Austin Middle School in Irving, Texas. He is a 2001 graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce.
He will be teaching general science, biology and advanced biology.
Laird is a collector, especially of sports cards and sports memorabilia, but he also enjoys coin collecting and reading biographies.
Laird said he and his wife A.J. are enjoying Tucumcari and the surrounding area. and he said that he has been impressed with the students and his coworkers at the high school.
“The staff and students at Tucumcari High have both been far above anything I expected,” said Laird. “You can tell the education and well being of the students is a top priority.”

Winnie Hagenah
Born in Clayton, Winnie Hagenah most recently comes to Tucumcari from Swink High School in Swink, Colo. where she taught Speech and English. At THS she will be teaching Special Education.
Hagenah has degrees from West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas and Fort Hays State University in Hayes, Kan.
Hagenah enjoys singing and has sung with professional choral groups and also is an avid reader.
She said she also enjoys traveling and taking part in community theater productions.
The new special education inclusion teacher said everyone in Tucumcari has been welcoming, especially Bettee Ditto and the staff of the high school.
“The staff has been very friendly and supportive,” said Hagenah. “I appreciate their welcoming new additions like me.”

Allan Kostedt
Allan Kostedt joins the high school mathematics staff after stints in Clayton; Rankin, Texas; Van Horn, Texas and most recently in Miami, Texas.
Kostedt who grew up near Grady attended college at Eastern New Mexico University from which he graduated in 1998.
Kostedt and his wife Sonja have three children. Kostedt, who has coached at all the previous schools he has worked, said that his hobbies are watching and taking part in sports.
Kostedt said he too has been impressed with both his co-workers and the students at the high school.
“It is a very hard-working staff and we have very friendly students.”