A P U B L I C A T I O N O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F N E W M E X I C O F O U N D A T I O N
College of Education
BUILDING SUCCESS IN EDUCATION…
ONE STUDENT AT A TIME
The College of
the new school year
by welcoming students
to a new home. Come
inside and explore some
of the innovative and
unique ways in which
our alumni, faculty and
students are building
success in education one
student at time.
The new COE building is
certified LEED Platinum,
making it the first publicly
funded project, and only
the second non-residential
structure, to earn this
recognition in New Mexico.
Low water flow plumbing
fixtures with occupancy
sensors in the new COE
building reduce water usage
up to 30 percent.
The new COE building has
four “simulated” classrooms
so students can practice
teaching in real world
Solar panels in the new COE
building provide almost 8
percent of the building’s power.
power of high expectations is what has driven my passion.”
From Blanco, a tiny village in northwest New Mexico, Florez,
who holds a doctorate in curriculum instruction, was the firstborn
of 12 children. Her primary education had a remnant of
segregation, yet she recalls incredible teachers making cultural
and social inroads in the minds of young students. Their desire
to make a difference, which she saw and admired, has become
the driving force behind her achievements in the classroom and
as an educational leader.
Florez, who began her college career at a small community
college in Durango, was the first in her family to go to college.
Pioneering a pathway and precedent for her siblings and for
later family generations, Florez credits her parents for her drive
and ambition. Though neither graduated from high school, they
believed in the hope and opportunities that education would
bring, she said.
Veronica Garcia (left), Richard Howell and Viola Florez stand outside UNM’s new College
of Education building.
The Promise of Education
At the helm of education in New Mexico are leaders whose
drive for learning and teaching parallels their love for the state.
Veronica Garcia renewed focus on public schools as New
Mexico’s first cabinet secretary of public education. Viola Florez,
the current secretary of higher education, has traveled throughout
the state this fall hosting countless town halls to discuss a
strategic vision for P-20 education. And Richard Howell, as
dean of UNM College of Education, leads the professors who
are educating the next generation of teachers. They know the
challenges New Mexico faces; they know the charm of its
culture—and they know, love and relate to its people.
Garcia served as cabinet secretary of public education for seven
years. Her story is one of success amid overwhelming challenges.
Born into poverty in Albuquerque’s Sawmill neighborhood, she
took neither food nor running water for granted. Having raised
her children while working full time and earning her doctorate in
leadership, Garcia relates to students whose responsibilities reach
beyond the classroom. The first in her family to graduate high
school, Garcia knew education was her channel to a fulfilling life
and she has spent her lifetime bringing it to others.
“I’ve a passion for high expectations for all children regardless of
circumstances,” Garcia said. “It is the key to breaking the cycle
of poverty. This I learned from my own personal experience. The
Florez has worked to bring that same hope to communities
state-wide. She recalls the culture shock she experienced when
she went from rural New Mexico and a small liberal arts
college to the University of Colorado, with one of the largest
enrollments in the country. Students from rural New Mexico
face unique challenges when they leave their comfort zone and
matriculate into large universities, often in large cities. As a
rural New Mexican herself, Florez understands these challenges
and advocates for all of the diverse student populations of New
Raised just off Fourth Street in Albuquerque’s North Valley by
a family rich in joy yet poor monetarily, Howell’s view of life is
analogous to his fascination with the boundless vistas of New
Mexico. The awe of Southwest sunsets brings hope and a sense
of immeasurable opportunity. Though his father died while
Howell was young, his parents imprinted upon him a drive for
education and an expectancy to excel. Since, he has grasped at
life’s opportunities with resolve. Attaining his master’s degree
at the age of 22, he went on to teach across the world and
eventually returned to earn his third UNM degree, a doctorate
in special education. He attributes his success not to being
abnormally gifted but rather to planning and vision.
With utmost reverence for his profession, Howell reflected on a
first grader he taught in a special education classroom nearly a
lifetime ago. “He tracked me down and called me; saying second
to his parents, I was the most important figure in his life,”
Howell said with tears in his eyes. “Because I taught him how to
That sentiment is the key correlate between these three leaders
in New Mexico’s education system. They are New Mexicans
leading New Mexico toward a world of hope and opportunity
that only education opens.
UNM ALUMNA HELPS BRING BILINGUAL
EDUCATION TO THE CLASSROOM
When Edna Alvarado enrolled her Spanish-speaking son in school she could
not find a bilingual program. She used her five-year teaching experience to
give him extra bilingual education at home after school.
Since then she has earned her master’s degree from UNM College of Education in
bilingual and elementary education and has taught kindergarten for the past 16 years
at La Mesa Elementary School in Albuquerque’s inner city. It is no wonder that in
2001 she earned recognition as a Golden Apple fellow for academic excellence in
bilingual education and parental involvement.
“I started doing research in the schools and I noticed that most of the bilingual
kids were underperforming,” Alvarado said. “I had the dream of starting a bilingual
program and helping the students.”
Alvarado’s kindergarten class is decorated with posters in English and Spanish and
her students switch between the languages as easily as they switch verb tenses. Most
importantly, since implementing the bilingual program significantly fewer bilingual
(continued on page 4)
Edna Alvarado, a kindergarten teacher at La Mesa Elementary,
discusses her bilingual curriculum.
NEW DOCTORAL PROGRAM ELEVATES
MATHEMATICS IN RURAL NEW MEXICO
STUDENT INTENDS TO
PROGRAMS TO MINORITY
Rick Kitchen (left) and Arlie Woodrum are the leading
professors in the UNM College of Education’s new Rural
Mathematics Doctoral Program.
is a partnership
of the College of
Students in rural areas face unique challenges when it comes to education.
That is why the College of Education is teaming up with Los Alamos National Laboratories and the
Española Public School District to create the Rural Mathematics Doctoral Program, a new cohort that is
being initiated to develop school leaders in rural northern New Mexico communities.
“Children in rural areas don’t traditionally have the same educational opportunities as their counterparts
in urban areas,” said Ellen Perez, a doctoral candidate in the program. “Some of the best jobs are
available in northern New Mexico at Los Alamos National Laboratories, but we aren’t teaching students
the skills they need in order to succeed at the university level so that they can compete for these jobs.”
Eight administrators, teachers and community leaders were chosen from the Española area for the pilot
program, which provides specialized training in leadership in mathematics education. They then take the
knowledge directly back to the community for implementation.
Lisa Tsuchiya said she applied for the program to help make a difference in her community.
“I want to help contribute to the education of new teachers in our district and give students the best
chance at success,” she said. “Through the Rural Mathematics Doctoral Program, I hope to learn the
skills and ways in which to have an impact in the lives of our students.”
The College of Education
awarded Felicia Johnson
Carl P. and Erma W.
Felicia Johnson, a master’s
student in counseling
education at the College
of Education, is this year’s
recipient of the 2010-2011
Carl P. and Erma W. Dunifon
Scholarship. Johnson grew
up living on the Navajo
Nation at Shiprock, N.M.
and Houck, Ariz. With her
degree, she hopes to provide
mental health care services
in the American Indian
communities. Having grown
up in the Navajo community,
Johnson understands the need
for counselors in minority
Her goal for the future is to
help build programs that
address the social issues in
ALUMNA RETURNS TO
UNM AS PROFESSOR
The Rural Mathematics Doctoral Program is community-based, with the Española Public School District
and Los Alamos National Laboratories providing scholarships to make the program affordable.
In addition, Professor Rick Kitchen said the Española community played a major role in the foundation
of the program.
“When we first met to talk about creating the program and establishing a curriculum, there were about
35 people sitting in,” he said. “I think this speaks to the dedication of the community. It is our goal to
not only improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in the district, but also to help transform
leadership in the school district by working together.”
Past UNM student Kersti
Tyson returns to UNM to
Students ask program leaders questions about the Rural Mathematics Doctoral Program during a forum
held at the College of Education.
Former UNM student Kersti
Tyson began her first semester
as a professor in the education
department this fall. Tyson’s
specialty is in math education,
which is critical to New
Mexico schools. Having just
finished her doctorate at the
University of Washington,
Tyson is back to work at what
she said “is probably the best
institution in New Mexico
to work in, in education.”
Working as a faculty member
at UNM combines her desire
to educate other teachers and
also to do more research on
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Cover: Building Success (in Education)….
One Student at a Time
Page 2: The Promise of Education
Page 3: New Doctoral Program Elevates
Mathematics in Rural New Mexico
Page 4: How Will You Plan For Your Future
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college of education
UNM ALUMNA HELPS BRING BILINGUAL
EDUCATION TO THE CLASSROOM
(continued from page 2)
students are being recommended for special education and the school has had to
hire a gifted teacher to meet the increased demand by over-performing students.
Passing on her research and experience to the next generation of school teachers,
Alvarado also teaches bilingual methodology and materials at UNM. Bilingual
education has been shown to be effective by allowing students to access academic
concepts in their native language and learn English at the same time, according
to Alvarado and her colleague Holbrook Mahn, a professor at the College of
“Studies have shown that students who are enrolled in bilingual programs
throughout their elementary schooling outperform native English speakers on tests
given in English,” Mahn said. “Native English speakers can learn Spanish at a young
age, making them more aware of English, which helps across the curriculum.”
Edna Alvarado teaches her kindergarten class
at La Mesa Elementary in both English and
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UNM Foundation Marketing and Communication Director: Jill Zack; Editor: Chris Elliott.
UNM College of Education and other contributors: Christie Ross, Yalexa L. Zuriarrain, Carrie Bullen, Brandon Call and Chris Elliott.
HOW WILL YOU PLAN
FOR YOUR FUTURE
What happens in the future will impact your loved ones and your estate
in countless ways. This is why careful planning is important to ensure
that your loved ones are well cared for and your estate is not subjected
to unnecessary and burdensome taxes.
We would like to help you organize and plan for the future by offering
you a free wills planning guide. You can’t afford not to plan! Please
contact Christie Ross at (505) 277-2915 or firstname.lastname@example.org to
receive your free guide today.
HOW TO GIVE
If you would like to make a donation to the College of Education, please
use the enclosed envelope or:
• Send your check, made payable to The UNM Foundation (please write
College of Education in the memo) to:
The UNM Foundation Two Woodward Center
700 Lomas Blvd., NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102-2520
• Make a secure donation online with your credit
card at www.unmfund.org.
• Donate through your employer’s payroll
deduction plan or matching gift program.
Please check with your human resources
department for details.
For more information on giving,
Director of Development,
College of Education
Thank you for supporting the UNM
College of Education.