PRESS RELEASE - January 21, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Assistant Secretaries for Accountability, Educator Quality Named for Public Education Department

(Santa Fe, NM)--Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia today announced the appointment of two assistant education secretaries at the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED).

Appointed as assistant secretary for Accountability and Assessment is Don E. Watson, Ph.D., director of Data and Research/Learning and Results for the Colorado Department of Education in Denver, and as assistant secretary of Educator Quality Support is James Ball, director of the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Professional Licensure Unit.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointments of these two highly qualified individuals as assistant secretaries of education. Dr. Watson brings a wealth of assessment experience to our team, particularly from the standpoint of communicating the importance of student testing to educators, parents and school communities. Mr. Ball has the proven experience we need to advance the state’s new three-tiered career system for educators. With his appointment, New Mexico will not skip a beat in implementing the new system,” said Secretary Garcia.

Assistant Secretary Watson is a career educator who has been deeply involved in Colorado’s education reform efforts. He has served at the Colorado Department of Education as senior consultant for Student Assessment (1989-1997), director of Student Assessment (1997-2001) and director of Data and Research/Learning and Results (since 2001). In his roles, he has addressed the changes and requirements faced by public education in the era of standards and accountability and created an effective and respected assessment program in Colorado. “These skills will be essential in helping to move New Mexico’s accountability agenda forward,” he said.

Assistant Secretary Ball has served since 2002 as director of the NMPED’s Professional Licensure Unit, where he has worked to assure that New Mexico maintains an adequate supply of high-quality educators for the public schools. He led the effort to develop and implement the three-tiered licensure system that increases expectations for performance in the classroom in exchange for a career ladder for teachers that is tied to professional salaries. “The time has come for a bold move in promoting and assuring that every New Mexico child in the public schools has a highly qualified and highly effective teacher,” he said.