State secretary of education tours Tucumcari Elementary

State Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera made an impromptu visit Thursday to Tucumcari Elementary School.

QCS photo: Thomas Garcia

New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, right kneeling, visits with a group of second-graders Thursday at Tucumcari Elementary School. Skandera toured Tucumcari Elementary as part of her tour of school districts in the state.

It is part of her plan to get a first-hand look at local school districts.

"I talked a lot about getting out around the state," Skandera said. "Last year, I visited 60 districts."

Skandera was given a tour of the school and the classrooms by Tucumcari Schools Superintendent Aaron McKinney.

"It was a great experience to have the secretary visit us today," McKinney said. "We have never had the secretary of education visit our schools before."

Skandera spoke with teachers and visited with students as a part of her tour.

"Her visit was very personable. She took time to talk with the teachers and students," McKinney said. "We wanted her to see what we are doing her in our schools."

Skandera said her goal is to visit schools and talk with principals, superintendents and teachers and find out what is working and not working for them.

"When I visit the schools it makes the administration more comfortable," Skandera said. "It's a lot more hands-on; way different than when they call in to my office."

Skandera said when she meets with people face-to-face they have a chance to ask the questions they did not know who to direct to.

"She made sure to give us her cell phone number and told us to call anytime we had questions," McKinney said.

Skandera was on a schedule to visit House Schools, though she did answer two hot-topic questions.

In the new evaluation of principals and teachers are superintendents going to be involved?

An advisory council to help on implementation, though when it comes to actual implementation every superintendent will be involved. These are their teachers and their schools.

Have the questions regarding the new school grading system been addressed?

A lot of the questions have been answered. The first real grades will come out in June. Though visiting with the staff here in Tucumcari, I realize we do need to have some more webinars and opportunities for people to ask more questions. We want to help them understand the system.

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