PRESS RELEASE - January 6, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Education Secretary Garcia to Visit Constituents From Cimarron and Angel Fire

(Santa Fe, NM)--Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia will make a visit to northeast New Mexico on Thursday, January 8, with stops in Cimarron and Angel Fire. The visit is part of her community engagement initiative. "Through these visits we are actively putting the 'public' back in public education. It is my intent to conduct community conversations throughout our great state to bring together and engage teachers, school leaders, boards of education, parents, students, business and civic leaders, faith community and others to address key issues," she said.

Secretary Garcia will meet with faculty and students from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Cimarron Elementary/Middle School, located at 132 N. Collison Avenue in Cimarron. Following that, she will meet with the Cimarron Municipal Schools Board of Education at the school from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. and at dinner at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

From 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., she will attend a public forum at Moreno Valley Charter School, located at 22 Sage Lane in Angel Fire. Topics will include Secretary Garcia’s 12-Point Plan for Public Education, including the following initiatives:

· Restructuring of the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)
· Analysis of the NMPED’s financial/business operations
· Development of a statewide community engagement framework
· Creation of a framework for enhanced public relations
· Creation of a statewide Coordination Council for Education Reform to bring together various groups working to reform the state’s schools
· Development of a master strategic plan
· Acceleration of the implementation of the Indian Education Act
· Creation of a Rural/Small Schools Task Force to identify key stakeholders and issues
· Development of a system for articulation with institutions of higher learning
· Focusing on assessment and accountability
· Creation of a framework for articulation with other youth providers
· Creation of positive change in the culture of the NMPED.

This is the second “community conversation” held by Secretary Garcia. In December, she visited southern New Mexico, with stops in Truth or Consequences, Gadsden and Las Cruces.