SANTA FE — Today, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera will step down effective June 20.
“New Mexico’s students and schools are better off today because of Secretary Skandera’s leadership and dedication,” Governor Martinez said. “Since day one of my administration, she’s been relentlessly committed to helping us fight the status quo – like teachers unions and other entrenched special interests – to reform education and give our students, teachers, parents and schools more of what they need to succeed. Now, more New Mexico students are graduating from high school than ever before, more are at grade level in reading and math, and more New Mexico kids are college ready. I’m so grateful for all Hanna has done for New Mexico’s kids, and I wish her all the best.”
Since Governor Martinez took office in 2011, New Mexico’s students and schools continue to see encouraging news. Together, Governor Martinez and Secretary Skandera have implemented a series of initiatives to reform education in New Mexico, in particular to help struggling students and schools.
“It has been such a privilege to be part of Governor Martinez’s team in the fight to lift up our students and schools,” Secretary Skandera said. “The results we’re seeing in New Mexico show what can happen when we choose to embrace reform and put kids first. New Mexico should be very proud of our teachers and kids for their continuing hard work and achievement.”
Under their leadership, New Mexico invests more dollars in classroom spending than ever before. Teachers are now evaluated – like other professions – so high-performing educators can be recognized and those who are struggling can get the mentoring and professional development they need. Through these and other reforms, New Mexico students are continuing to close achievement gaps in communities large and small throughout the state.
Since 2011, high school graduation rates in New Mexico have increased by 8 percentage points, to an all-time high of 71 percent. Just last year, 14.4 percent more students are now at grade level in math, and nearly 5 percent more students are at grade level in reading. All of these results occurred while raising the bar for readiness – and New Mexico’s students have risen to the challenge.
These reforms are also helping more struggling schools improve. Since 2011, the number of A and B schools has increased by 25 percent. 30,000 more students are now attending A and B schools.
Under Governor Martinez and Secretary Skandera, New Mexico is investing more than ever in expanding Advanced Placement courses across the state – and more New Mexico students are college-ready as a result. In recent years New Mexico has doubled the number of AP courses offered, and more students than ever are taking and passing AP exams and earning college credit. The Governor and Secretary fought to provide fee waivers to low-income students for each AP exam. New Mexico ranks second nationally in growth of students taking AP exams, and fourth in the nation in providing low-income students access to AP courses.
Deputy Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski will serve as acting cabinet secretary. Prior to his service in New Mexico, Ruszkowski worked as a middle school social studies teacher and served for nearly six years at the Delaware Department of Education under former Democratic Governor Jack Markell.