The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

School districts filling in the gaps


July 20, 2017

It is prime time for new hires in education.

As the new school year fast approaches, districts across the region are hiring new administrators, many of whom are moving from within their district to new positions.

• Clovis

At Clovis Municipal Schools, Karri Hatley, who has been with CMS for 23 years, is now principal of Los Ninos Early Intervention Center and Lincoln Jackson Family Center, while Wayne Marshall came out of retirement to become principal of Parkview Elementary.

Hatley said it is her first time being in a position at the pre-schools.

“I’m really excited to take my experience with kindergarten to increase what I know about kids and learning as I work with three to four-year-olds, teachers, and families,” Hatley said.

She went on saying, preschools have a big role in getting families into the district early to work with schools and teachers.

“(The pre-schools) set the tone for what (families’) educational process will be, and I’m excited to get in on the ground floor,” Hatley said.

Hatley has worked with many of the staff at Los Ninos and Lincoln Jackson either on committees, or because they previously worked along side her as kindergarten teachers.

“When you have been in the district for 23 years, you know nearly everyone,” she said.

“One of the things (the district) is looking at, is being able to best help children (during) pre-school years,” Hatley said, adding that “preschools lay a foundation for literacy and numeracy and provide good social skills for kids going (further) into school.”

Marshall, who is returning to CMS after a year of retirement, has been in education for a total of 27 years including as a teacher and principal at the elementary and high school level. He first came to Clovis in 2009, when he was hired as Clovis High’s principal.

“It’s been 13 years since I’ve been at the elementary level and a lot has changed,” Marshall said. “It was my first love.”

Marshall said he is thrilled for the new opportunity because at the elementary level, “(educators) are really focused on teaching kids to read and having them use (that) to learn through the rest of their education.”

“It’s where it all starts,” he said. “If you’re not on level by 3rd grade, you’ll probably struggle for the rest of schooling.”

Marshall also said one challenge he faces along with the rest of the district, is teaching English language learners, as they start off with a disadvantage in the early years of their education.

He said he decided to re-enter the district after a year of retirement because he truly enjoys working with teachers and students.

Marshall, who lives in the neighborhood of Parkview, said, “I wanted to make a difference in the community that I live in.”

Also in Clovis Schools, David Fredericks will become the new principal at Barry Elementary, according to Jalayne Curtis, the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.

Fredericks has already begun a gamut of meetings in the district and was unavailable for an interview.

Clovis Christian Schools have made some administrative changes as well, according to Superintendent Ladona Clayton.

Linda D’Amour, CCS’s new assistant superintendent, said she is excited for her new opportunity as she has not yet been a superintendent in her career.

D’Amour was principal of Parkview Elementary and Clovis Christian Schools for a total of 13 years.

She said her biggest challenge for the new position is operating on a different level in the day-to-day activities of the schools.

“I’m a hands-on administrator because I like the one on one interactions with students,” D’Amour said adding, “I miss (being in the classroom) every single day.”

“The majority of (educators) are here because we truly love working with children and families,” D’Amour said. “We want to do everything we can to improve education in New Mexico.”

New to Clovis Christian Schools is Kristi Cargile. The school’s new athletic director has been a coach and around athletics most of her career, though has never been a director before.

She said she is most excited to “be able to focus my teaching on being Christ-centered.”

With a small district to work with, Cargile said it will be easier to implement her coaching philosophy: “building character, self esteem and team work (without) a win-at-all-cost mentality.”

Cargile said this philosophy has lost her coaching positions in the past because many parents and administrators demand to “win at all costs,” while her focus is to guide and grow her athletes.

• Portales

In Portales, Becky Flen has moved from Brown Early Childhood Center to Lindsey-Steiner Elementary.

The main difference, Flen said, is that the students will be older and she will have to prepare for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.

Flen also said she is excited to see how her older students have grown and progressed in their education since she saw them last.

“I’m really looking forward to actually seeing where the children were in kindergarten to where they are now,” Flen said.

“I always think it’s a good thing for administrators to move around if at all possible, so that (each) school can get some fresh eyes... and not get in a rut,” Flen said.

She also said, “I’m excited to be able to make the move and work with some new teachers. Many of the teachers haven’t stopped working”

“I’ve been principal at four of the six schools, and everywhere I’ve been, we just have good teachers throughout the district,” Flen said.

Also switching gears in Portales schools is Amanda Harris who will be the new instructional leader at Lindsey-Steiner, according to PMS Superintendent, Johnnie Cain.

Cain said Harris has been in the district for a year after being an interventionist in Clovis Schools.

“Harris will bring new ideas to the table from outside the district,” Cain said. “She and Ms. Flen will compliment each other well.”

“I am most excited to get back to work with all the students and the staff,” Harris said. “I will be ready to tackle any (challenges) as they come.”

Harris also said she loves that “Portales Schools is very student and family driven... that’s where the heart of it should be.”

The previous instructional leader at Lindsey-Steiner, Melanie Skinner, will become the principal at Brown Early Childhood Center, according to Cain.

Skinner has already begun district administrative training and said she is excited to get to know her new staff.

Skinner said she always misses her teaching position and that moving up in administration was a difficult position.

“I didn’t leave position as a 6th grade math teacher because I didn’t love my position,” Skinner said. “It ws a hard decisoin because I was very happy where I was. Opportunities don’t open up that often.”

Cain said Skinner “proved herself in her job and any other tasks for the past few years.”

“Skinner brings a lot of skills to the table, and she’ll be able to maintain what Brown is doing and bring it forward... her great organizational skills are what will be necessary to work there,” Cain said.

The new director of federal programs, Rick Segovia has been a principal in Portales Municipal Schools for “many years,” according to Cain. Segovia has also already begun training and was unavailable for interview.

“He’s got that experience behind him as well as a background in bilingual education which is a big part of our federal programs that he will be a part of,” Cain said. “I think he’s going to fill that role very well.”

The biggest administrative change in Portales schools is the new Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Assessment, Henry Montano.

“Mr. Montano was (originally) hired as federal programs director and he’s just done a fine job,” Cain said. “For the district, it was a logical advancement, I think he’s going to a really good job for us because his background really suits him for this job.

“He’s a good people person and he communicates well with parents and I like that.”


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