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Posted: June 30, 2020

Superintendent Reedy's Farewell Message

After more than four decades in public education including five years as the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, Raquel Reedy is retiring on July 1.

It does not seem possible that this will be the last time I write to you as part of the Albuquerque Public Schools family, but it is time for me to say goodbye. What a hard thing to do when one has spent over forty years working for the children and the exceptional employees of APS. For me, it has truly been a labor of love. 

Retirement is bittersweet for many reasons, partly because I will move on, but everyone else stays. I can’t begin to tell you how much joy you brought me over the years. 

I can still recall the first time I entered a classroom as a newly minted teacher in the Boston Public Schools in 1974. This was in the midst of busing riots and a teacher strike but I still remember the names and faces of my first students, and that overwhelming instinct at my core that told me I was exactly where I was needed. I know you have had the same realization.  

There is enormous satisfaction that comes from being a part of something bigger, more meaningful, and lasting than some of our own personal life journeys. It is the energy that propels each and every one of us every time we see a student read for the first time, ace a test or hear about a former student’s wild success. The excitement is never about us as individuals. It is about the students we serve, the lives we change, and the community we create one diploma at a time….as it should be.

My experiences in public education have helped me understand so much about people, politics, and problem-solving. I will always be grateful for that. Challenges are inherent in our line of work, though the last few months have certainly been unprecedented. You faced difficulties thrust upon you by forces beyond your control and your efforts will continue. Let your experience and instincts guide you. Support one another and continue to stand up for students who may not always have a voice. As educators, we are never powerless. Please, don’t forget that...especially now.

Together, yes, all of us together have done much to be proud of.  Every year we have upped the ante and succeeded, whether it’s raising graduation rates, closing learning gaps, improving attendance, creating services for our homeless and refugee students, or strengthening special education services. This spring alone, we turned things around when Covid19 required us to immediately stop what we were doing.  In a matter of weeks, we were able to present our community with a district that had turned itself around 180 degrees in order to serve its students in the midst of a pandemic.  We made a difference for the students of APS because we had confidence in our abilities. No other educational entity in New Mexico did what we did, to the degree that we did.  And I know the work will continue.

I am relieved and excited to take my leap at a time when the district is firm and secure in its leadership. I will miss each and every one of you. I thank you for your kindness and support over all these many years. I could never have done it without you.

I remember the emotional tug-of-war I experienced when I left my comfortable hometown of  Laredo for the unknown Harvard. One phase of my life ended, and another started. And now I am doing it all over again. That is what change is all about. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and exploring new personal interests. You won’t see me in the schools, in my office, or attending meetings, but I hope you’ll never forget the time we had together and what it means for the students who depend on us for a better tomorrow.

Adios,

Raquel

Superintendent Reedy Retrospective