Leadership Los Alamos Completes Education Session

Amy Bartlett Gaunt of Los Alamos Middle School speaks with Leadership Los Alamos participants Friday at UNM-LA. Photo by Martha Katko

From left, Lucy Foma, Doris Prokop and Monica Hernandez-Lara. Photo by Martha Katko

 

By DEBBIE HULING
LLA
 
The Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2015 participated in an Education session Friday at UNM-LA. The session was chaired by Elizabeth Martineau of the Bradbury Science Museum who also serves as president of Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation; and Dawn Venhaus, UNM-LA Department Chair for Science & Engineering, Chemistry and associate professor.
 
The day began with a class activity to define what education is and who is responsible for education. Working in small groups, the results were visually different but all demonstrated how education is linked with almost everything people do.
 
Scott Robbins, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s program manager for the Student Programs Office talked about LANL’s educational needs and how LANL staff give back to the community by becoming involved in various educational endeavors. Cindy Rooney, Dean of Instruction for UNM-LA and Gerry Washburn, Assistant Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools talked about state funding differences, challenges, successes and vision. They provided lots of information on how the complicated funding formulas impact schools, teachers and students. Most of the afternoon focused on the classroom.
 
The class heard from teachers in all levels of education about their challenges and passions. Mike McNaughton who works at LANL and has taught for 28 years at UNM-LA wowed the class with a physics demonstration and one class member said “I want to take your classes!” Tara Adams talked about the false stereotypes and challenges of homeschooling. One class member said Amy Bartlett-Gaunt who currently teaches math at Los Alamos Middle School “opened my eyes and explained and let me experience ‘testing'”. Tammy Moore, 4th grade teacher at Aspen Elementary School, impressed the class with her focus on patience in the classroom. Overall, the class remarked “Teachers are heros”.
 
The day ended with a discussion about lifelong learning to provide the class with opportunities to get involved. Morrie Pongratz provided information about the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation; Steven Thomas, Library Manager of the Los Alamos County Library System, provided data on the high usage of the local library and an update on the White Rock Library construction; and Brittney Van Der Werff, Education Coordinator for the Valles Caldera National Preserve, talked about the wide variety of volunteer and educational opportunities with the Valles.
 
The class consists of 19 individuals who represent LANB, Los Alamos County, Bandelier National Monument, LANL, UNM-LA, the LANL Foundation, LAMC, the Chamber of Commerce and stay-at-home moms.
 
For more information on Leadership Los Alamos, visit http://leadershiplosalamos.com/.

JT Stark and Jorge Maldonado. Photo by Martha Katko

From left, Adrianna Ortiz and Beth Honea. Photo by Martha Katko
 

Matt Casados and Kelly Michel. Photo by Martha Katko

From left, Geoff Goins, Katie Thwaits and Eric Edmonds. Photo by Martha Katko

From left, Lucy Foma and Doris Prokop. Photo by Martha Katko

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