New Mexico Education Departments Thank Outgoing Secretary Stewart, Welcome Secretary Designate Steinhaus

Secretary Designate Ryan Stewart

NMPED News:

SANTA FE — New Mexico’s three education departments thank outgoing Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart for his partnership over the past two years in serving students and educators and look forward to continuing this work with Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus.

While the Early Childhood Education, Public Education (PED) and Higher Education departments focus on particular parts of the education system, collaboration has increased in recent years under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham toward expanding teacher pipelines, improving college readiness, supporting parents going back to school, and increasing equity and inclusion in the classroom to name a few.

Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus

“I’d like to thank Secretary Stewart for his steady leadership and guidance during these past two years. I’m among the many who will miss him. I’d also like to thank my colleagues at the Higher Education and Early Childhood Education and Care departments for their warm welcome and expressions of support,” PED Secretary Designate Steinhaus said.  “I look forward to collaborating with them regularly as we work together to build the nation’s best cradle to career education system. We are united in that commitment.”

Secretary Designate Steinhaus is a longtime New Mexico educator who began his career as a music teacher and has worked twice previously at the Public Education Department. He retired in May as superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools.

“Secretary Stewart has been a steadfast advocate for educational excellence in our state and a big part of why I came to New Mexico in the first place after he was kind enough to share my resume with the governor’s administration during the search for someone to lead the new Early Childhood Education and Care Department,” said Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “We are immensely grateful for Secretary Stewart’s support in getting the new department off the ground, especially as we collaborated to transition public PreK from the Public Education Department to its new home at ECECD. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and offer a warm welcome to Secretary Designate Steinhaus. We look forward to continuing the close partnership between our two departments under his leadership.” 

“Secretary Stewart and I began our work together to advance K-12 education on his very first day of the job when I greeted him at the Jerry Apodaca Education Building. Many things in my career path have changed since then, but his support of me was unwavering through our agency collaborations, such as the New Mexico Longitudinal Data System and dual credit to name a few. I thank Secretary Stewart for his partnership, and wish him the best,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “The Early Childhood Education and Care and Higher Education departments will continue our commitment and promise to collaborate with the Public Education Department to foster a cradle to career education system for our state, and I look forward to working with my new colleague, Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus.”

In the two years Secretary Stewart led the PED, some top accomplishments include: 

  • Replacing the existing, punitive teacher evaluation system with one that supports educator growth and development; 
  • Launching an online educator licensure platform and significantly reducing licensure processing times; 
  • Training PED staff, district, charter and Tribal education departments in culturally and linguistically responsive instructional practices; 
  • Replacing the A-F school grading system and the PARCC assessment system with new, more robust systems of assessments; 
  • Launching the New Mexico Vistas accountability platform; 
  • Initiating screening for all first-grade students for dyslexia; 
  • Developing a biliteracy framework for the state; 
  • Launching the Governor’s STEM Challenge in which over 500 students have participated in over two years; 
  • Establishing a statewide learning management system (Canvas) that allows for virtual teaching and learning for all students and educators across the entire state with over 140,000 courses created on the platform to date; 
  • Establishing a citizen-led equity council in every school district and charter school to elevate historically underserved populations in the decision-making process; 
  • Launching a special education working group; 
  • Developing – with help from more than 200 educators —  the New Mexico Instructional Scope to support all educators across the state align and enhance rigorous instruction; 
  • Initiating the overdue revision of social studies standards for the state; 
  • Expanding participation in K-5 Plus and Extended Learning time from 83,000 in 2019-20 to 150,000 in 2021-22; 
  • Increasing the number of community schools from 32 to 54 and the number of students served from 10,000 to 18,500; 
  • Serving 42 million meals to students during the pandemic; 
  • Launching the Family Income Index to provide $30 million for additional resources to schools most impacted by concentrated poverty; 
  • Developing a statewide Social and Emotional Learning Framework for all district and charter schools; 
  • Increasing graduation rates by 2 percentage points; 
  • Developing a statewide career and technical education program (Next Gen CTE) and increased the percentage of schools funded for CTE programs from 30 percent to 80 percent; 
  • Launching a statewide computer science strategic plan, hiring a state computer science specialist, and awarding $1 million in grants to develop computer science programs across the state; 
  • Closing the digital divide for the vast majority of New Mexico students; and 
  • Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in schools. 
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