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Posted September 9, 2014

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Motivated by the chance to change things

Read Superintendent Brad Winter's column that appeared in the Sept. 9th edition of the Albuquerque Journal.

If you asked me 20 years ago when I was teaching at Sandia High School if I’d ever want to be superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, I would have said no. Honestly, I might have said no a year ago when I was chief operations officer.

But when presented with the opportunity just a few weeks ago, I found myself poised for the challenge, excited about the opportunity to help turn things around.

I’ve watched tens of thousands of students make their way through our schools, so I have a good idea of what’s working and what’s not. I’ve had the good fortune of being involved at all levels, from the classroom to the athletic fields to the board room. I’ve seen the struggles firsthand, and the many triumphs, too.

That’s why I accepted the job as interim superintendent. My immediate goals are to continue efforts to help students succeed while regaining public trust and creating more stability for the district.

As you know, I came in under some difficult circumstances – a resignation at the top, a bus driver shortage, an elementary school hit hard by the flu bug. Why would anyone want the stress of these problems? I’ve agreed to take on the job because I know from experience that, with every problem comes an opportunity to find solutions and, ultimately, a better blueprint for the students we serve.

Expect to see me at your schools. Already, I’ve made dozens of campus visits. It’s good to hear from those on the frontlines, to witness creative teaching and enthusiastic learning, to connect with the young people we serve.

I appreciate the many exemplary teachers and support staff we have in APS, but they can’t do this job alone, so another one of my goals is to reach out to the community and encourage input, help and support. Business owners, parents, students, activists, employees – we all have a stake in public education.

September is National Truancy Awareness Month, the perfect time to call on our friends in the community. If you know a student who is having a hard time getting to school, or a parent who struggles to motivate their child to get to class, direct them to us. We have resources that can, with your help, make a difference.

This also is National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is important to us since two-thirds of our students are Hispanic. To further advance this growing student population, we’ve expanded our dual-language programs, increased enrollment in Advanced Placement classes, and are offering more school choices for students and families.

At the administrative level, we’re learning to be more culturally proficient. Put simply, we must create an environment of respect for every person we touch. We need to care about how people are treated, respect who they are and know that everyone has the potential for greatness.

On the topic of greatness, I invite you to join us for the annual A is for Art! auction and gala on Friday, Oct. 3, at Hotel Albuquerque. This annual event sponsored by the APS Education Foundation features more than 150 student art pieces, as well as musical performances by our high school students. The work is superb, the entertainment fun and you’ll be supporting the arts in our schools. More information is available at www.apseducationfoundation.org.

You can see why I’m so excited about this job. Want to hear more? Visit our newly designed website, APS.edu, or join our now more than 10,000 fans on Facebook.

I look forward to talking to you, hearing your concerns, listening to your suggestions. In the meantime, you’re welcome to get in touch with me. The best way to reach me is at superintendent@aps.edu.

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