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Superintendent's News

Posted: February 26, 2021

Keep the Focus

"There’s a lot to be optimistic about when you consider the totality of your work and the impact you’ve had and continue to have in your students’ lives," Supt. Elder wrote in his weekly message to employees.

I’m often asked what keeps me up at night. Like you, I have a lot of responsibilities, and I do worry. Lately, what I find most challenging is the temptation to lean into those anxieties. I’m trying very hard, and I hope you are too, to remain focused so I can be healthy and make the best possible decisions for our students, staff, and families.

I know this is asking a lot when you are bombarded daily with information about the great school debate. It is hard and it is stressful, but we’re not giving up. I encourage you to take a minute to breathe and reflect. I think you’ll find there’s a lot to be optimistic about when you consider the totality of your work and the impact you’ve had and continue to have in your students’ lives. 

I was reminded of that recently when I heard from retired and revered Albuquerque Public Schools band teacher Mark Goodrum. Mark’s name might ring a bell because beyond his thirty-plus years at Grant Middle School, where he taught band and TV production, he also hosted a podcast for the district. I enjoyed being Mark’s guest on the show a few times and got to know a little about him. The entire Goodrum family has APS ties. Mark’s wife Bert is a retired Manzano High School EA, and their sons Jared and Justin are Sandia High School and University of New Mexico grads.

Mark wrote to share a video of his son Jared that I’m including in my letter to you today. Jared is a gifted saxophonist, now serving our country in the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Band stationed in Japan.

Jared was never my student, but I had many like him. We’ve all been blessed to have dedicated students determined to share their talents with the world. And those students have been fortunate to have someone like you in their corner so they can realize their dreams.

In my mind, I see Jared lugging that sax to and from home and school. Beside him and so any students like him, I see each of you who, even in these days of virtual learning, are right there ready to catch, guide, and cheer on our students. That’s where we want to keep our focus.

Enjoy the video of "Way Back Home" by Wilton Felder featuring the talent of Jared Goodrum.