New Mexico Governor Tries Again

Aug 14, 2019 by

Mike Antonucci –

Last month New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham gave the boot to her secretary of education after only six months on the job. Karen Trujillo was a popular choice among the state’s school establishment, having been a classroom teacher. The governor was vague about why the move was necessary.

The search for Trujillo’s replacement didn’t take long. On Monday the governor named her choice for the position, and it was another former teacher.

Ryan Stewart taught algebra and science at the Cesar Chavez Academy in the Ravenswood City School District near Palo Alto, California. He taught for three years as a Teach for America recruit. He then became a mentor teacher through the New Teacher Center, before taking a position at the Philadelphia School District, where he was put in charge of the Office of School Improvement and Innovation.

His primary responsibility was the district’s School Redesign Initiative, which he describes in this 2014 video.

The initiative seems to have been envisioned as a kinder, gentler turnaround program for struggling schools. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers wasn’t crazy about it, and an internal PFT group, the Caucus of Working Educators, said “several of the initiative’s features raise red flags.”

“The initiative is our city’s version of ‘Race To The Top,’ where a lucky few will win a small prize while all schools continue to struggle,” said the caucus in a statement posted on their web site.

Stewart next took a job as regional executive director for Partners in School Innovation, a nonprofit that works with urban districts on school improvement.

Union reaction to Stewart’s appointment has been neutral and guarded.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Stewart, and continuing our work with the NM PED under the administration of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham,” said Stephanie Ly, president of AFT New Mexico. “In just eight short months, deep systemic changes are already starting to take place, and we hope that Dr. Stewart’s vision is to continue those changes alongside educators for the benefit of our students, families, and communities we serve.”

“Time will tell,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. “I think every single educator in the state of New Mexico is waiting to see who this person is what their plans are and what kind of leader they are going to be.”

Source: New Mexico Governor Tries Again – Intercepts

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