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Excited for the Work Ahead!

Posted May 31, 2024, 7:05 AM. Updated June 24, 2024, 8:06 AM.

In her message to the APS community, incoming Superintendent Gabriella Blakey thanks students and staff for their hard work this school year and discusses the steps she's taken to prepare for the leadership post.

We’ve reached the finish line!

Today is the last day of school for most of our students, and for those on the TOPS calendar, summer break is just 10 days away. There’s always something magical about the last day of school—the sense of freedom and seemingly endless possibilities as summer stretches ahead.

Our graduates are savoring the end of a long journey and the beginning of an exciting new one. For the rest of our students, this is the time to celebrate all they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the friends they’ve made this school year.

As your incoming superintendent, I want to take a moment to thank you.

I’m grateful to our students for the hard work they put in this year as their teachers pushed them to reach higher. I’m grateful to all of our parents and guardians who were right there every step of the way, navigating new bell schedules and school calendars and helping with science projects, essays, and math problems. And I’m grateful to all of our teachers, principals, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, central office staff, and everyone else who devoted their time and energy to meeting the needs of our students and helping them grow.

Kudos to all of you!

I officially take over as superintendent on July 1 and am committed to ensuring that every student who graduates from APS has the skills, attributes, and knowledge to achieve their future goals. I have spent the last several months preparing to step into the role. That has included visits to more than a dozen schools to hear from staff and students. I was also fortunate to meet with our Superintendent Student Advisory Council, which is made up of high school students from throughout the district.

I asked three questions: What is APS doing well? How can APS improve? What’s the first problem the new superintendent should address? As you can imagine, the feedback we received was all over the map. Here’s a sampling.

In the What’s APS Doing Well column, many praised our community schools and support for families. Others like the health services provided on campus through partnerships.

In the How Can APS Improve column, some asked us to improve the cleanliness of schools and bathrooms, examine teacher retention and principal turnover patterns, and provide quality feedback to instructors, and redirect those unwilling to improve.

 As for the first problem I should address when I formally become superintendent, there are many suggestions. Among them:

  • Improve teacher recruitment, retention, and professional development

  • Enhance communication between schools, the district, and the community

  • Increase mental health and social-emotional learning support for students

  • Ensure equitable resource distribution among schools.

I plan to formally launch my Listening and Learning Tour after July 1. As part of that tour, I will visit more schools and host family nights and community events. If you don’t want to wait to provide your input, please go to my feedback form.

I’ve also been working on a central office reorganization plan to better position us to meet our goals: improving reading and math proficiency rates, preparing our students for life after graduation, and equipping them with the life skills they need to be successful. The reorganization will go into effect on July 1.

Know that I will be working hard this summer to lay the groundwork for a successful school year. But rest assured, I will carve out some time for fun, and that includes attending our School’s Out Night! It’ll take place during New Mexico United’s soccer match against Hartford Athletic on Saturday, June 8, at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park. The game begins at 7 p.m. Discounted tickets are available for APS staff and families, with a portion of the proceeds going to the APS Education Foundation for school and classroom grants. I hope to see you there.

Enjoy your summer! I look forward to seeing you when school resumes and am excited for the work ahead.