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Superintendent's News

Posted: March 19, 2021

Change Into What

In his first employee message as APS Superintendent, Scott Elder writes about the road ahead.

Supt. Elder with students at his alma mater, Governor Bent Elementary School

Supt. Elder with students at his alma mater, Governor Bent Elementary School

A couple of days ago, after officially being named APS Superintendent, I visited my old elementary school, Governor Bent, where I chatted with staff and students and observed some top-notch small group instruction.

As I looked into those kids’ faces, half-covered with really cool-looking masks, I felt the weight of responsibility of my new job, and I swore I’d do right by them and all students across the district. No matter their zip code, last name, or skin color. Regardless of their family income or makeup or living conditions. Wherever they come from and whatever language they speak. No matter their disabilities, behaviors, test scores, orientation, or attitudes. I am devoted to the students and families of Albuquerque Public Schools.  And to you, my co-workers, too.

It’s easy to lose sight of our core obligations amid the daily operations of running a classroom or school, an office or building, or even a district. As your Superintendent, I promise to keep the focus. Actually, I want to sharpen that focus, clearly outlining a district vision and the path toward achieving it.

People are always saying, “Change APS. Change APS.” My response is, “Change APS into what?” I will turn to the community for the answer, with an intentional focus on those who have felt ignored, disenfranchised, or voiceless. I recognize that there are system and institutional barriers within APS that adversely impact communities of color. We must listen to these communities so that we can remove those barriers. With their help, we can create a robust vision with achievable goals and change APS for the better.

I know this district. My relationship with APS dates back nearly half a century to my first days as a student at Governor Bent. Through the years, I have worked at schools labeled “high performing” and others described as “underachieving.” I have found that excellent teaching and active learning happens in all of our schools, even if not reflected in test scores. Instead of looking at weaknesses, we can support academic achievement by building on strengths, culture, languages, and experiences. We need to celebrate our successes and highlight our students, staff, and schools in ways they haven’t been highlighted before.

Our kids are smart. Our kids are talented. Our kids can do anything if we set high expectations for them. So let’s do this. No more excuses. I’d love nothing more than to see generations of community leaders coming from our schools.

Those future leaders will get a little well-deserved break next week, as will many of you. Enjoy your Spring Break. We have our work cut out for us, but we're up to the task. I feel privileged to work alongside so many dedicated colleagues.