State leaders choose UNM
senator and teachers
recently earned Ed.D.
By Greg Johnston
The Educational Leadership program at UNM is making friends in high places. Three prominent state leaders recently earned doctorate of education degrees after completing intensive studies at the College of Education.
New Mexico Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia is presented with her Ed.D. during UNM’s fall commencement. Seated, rear, are Vice Provost for Research Terry Yates, left, and Vice Provost for Extended University Jerry Dominguez. Photo by Tom Brahl.
Veronica Garcia, New Mexico’s new Secretary of Education, received her Ed.D during fall commencement. She was hooded on Dec. 19 by John Mondragon, College of Education lecturer. The following day, Garcia delivered the College of Education convocation address to graduates and their families.
Also hooded in December were New Mexico State Senator Pete Campos and Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. Each had earned undergraduate degrees at UNM prior to participating in graduate level programs.
Garcia’s long association with UNM began as an undergraduate student more than 30 years ago. UNM faculty believe the advanced degree will serve Garcia well.
“I think she has a tremendous experiential base and a good grasp of recent trends and research in education that will help her navigate as she heads into new waters,” said Breda Bova, UNM College of Education associate dean and professor.
Garcia is New Mexico’s first secretary of education, named to the position in November by Gov. Bill Richardson. The Albuquerque native served as a New Mexico educator for 30 years. She worked as a substitute and full time teacher, principal, school psychologist, assistant and associate superintendent and superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools from 1999 to 2002. Prior to becoming the secretary of education, Garcia was executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators.
“A program was developed that would allow busy people to pursue advanced degrees at night and on weekends while retaining jobs and family activities. I think this program has done a great deal for New Mexico in terms of putting people in leadership positions.”
– Breda Bova
Garcia earned three degrees at UNM. She received her bachelor’s in 1973 and her master’s in 1978, both in special education. Her recent dissertation examined changes in school administrators’ leadership behavior after participating in a formalized development program.
Last month, Garcia also was awarded the “2003 Educator of the Year Award” by the New Mexico Research and Study Council at UNM. John Mondragon, who hooded Garcia, leads the council. He and Bova served as Garcia’s dissertation review committee.
“The UNM Educational Leadership faculty crafted a quality program that working people in leadership positions could be a part of,” Bova said. “For a lot of these graduate programs, it’s sort of like you have to sell your first born and move to the campus. That’s not reality.” A program was developed that would allow busy people to pursue advanced degrees at night and on weekends while retaining jobs and family activities.
“I think this program has done a great deal for New Mexico in terms of putting people in leadership positions.”
The new doctorate degrees will also benefit Campos and Bernstein. Campos is a state senator representing areas in four New Mexico counties and is associate superintendent of the East Las Vegas School District. For his study, Campos examined the New Mexico State Senate Capital Outlay distribution process. He earned his undergraduate degree from UNM in 1974 and master’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University in 1991.
Bernstein’s study looked at the evolution of change from an industrial style teacher’s union to a professional union.
Bernstein earned her bachelor’s in elementary education in 1982 and master’s in special education in 1987, both from UNM. In November, she was selected by Gov. Richardson as chair of the Governor’s Council on Teaching, an advisory group to Garcia, creating policy that sets standards for teachers.
Other top education leaders in New Mexico who have earned graduate degrees from the UNM College of Education are: Kurt Steinhaus, state deputy secretary for Learning and Accountability, Ed.D., 1998; Carlotta Penny Bird, state assistant secretary for Indian Education, M.A., 1977; Louella Buchanan, state director of Continuous School Improvement, Ed.D., 1999; Beth Everitt, superintendent, Albuquerque Public Schools, Ph.D., 1983; and Gloria Rendon, superintendent, Santa Fe Public Schools, M.A., 1978.