FMS Board named NMSBA "Board of the Year"

FMS Board named NMSBA "Board of the Year"
Posted on 07/26/2021

FARMINGTON, NM -- The FMS Board of Education was awarded 2020 “Board of the Year” in the large district division by the New Mexico School Boards Association on Friday during the NMSBA annual conference, which was held virtually. 

The Board was honored for their innovative and strategic actions as well as accomplishments and commitment to excellence.  

“We know there are many Boards across this state that are doing excellent work in driving student achievement. So this award, especially in this challenging educational environment, is greatly appreciated,” said Board President Kyle Rhodes in his acceptance speech of the award. “What makes us effective are excellent people across the breadth of our district that execute our mission and vision. We’re really blessed in Farmington to have many excellent people right here in our community.” 

The Board’s nomination stated the FMS Board leads by example as noted by a District strategic plan that established five pillars of success, including improving student achievement. In the process, data shared as supportive information, highlights dramatic improvement in the graduation rate, a steady climb in the  English Language Art performance, and a visual that examines the rapid rise of school report card  grades that grow from D and C to A and Bs. 

Innovation is also demonstrated through a unique Berlin Teacher Exchange Teacher Program that  recruited German teachers to Farmington. In addition, the Board championed the creation of a unique  Four Corners early college high school, known as San Juan College High School in collaboration with Aztec, Bloomfield. Central Consolidated and San Juan College. San Juan College High School was ranked as  the highest performing school by the New Mexico Public Education Department in 2020 and 2019 and the highest performing of all public schools in 2018. The Board also showed vision in partnering with San Juan  College in the joint purchase of the 30th Street Education Center, which presented the opportunity for  the school district to centralize over 140 staff from across the school system in a one-stop education  center. 

Even as the District has seen dramatic improvement in the graduation rate and in student  achievement, the Board has promoted the importance of professional development. For example, the  District partnered with the Cooperative Education Services in the training of future school leaders  through an administrative certification program. The Board has also given back through invitations from  NMSBA to present at a winter conference and more recently an online training for new Board members. 

And, the FMS Board takes their own training seriously, having participated in 235 collective hours of  NMSBA training. Their belief in training extends beyond those professional development hours as viewed  by workshops with Dr. Peter Gorman in Leading a School District Requires Clarity, Context and Candor and Dr. Phil Warrick, Marzano Resources, in frameworks of High Reliability Schools. 

Guiding a school system to the level of increasing student achievement calls for aligning systems. The  FMS Board championed a systems-based approach as viewed through state recognition as a Quality New  Mexico Roadrunner Award winner, an AdvancED (now Cognia) district accredited school system, and  Marzano Resources National Level 1 District Certification as a Safe, Supportive and Collaborative District.  National recognition was also noted with a National Title 1 Distinguished School and a National Blue  Ribbon School. 

“Improved student achievement, higher graduation rates, state and national recognition does not  happen by accident,” FMS Superintendent Dr. Eugene Schmidt said. “It is the result of hard work, commitment to excellence, and a Board of Education that has chosen to make a difference. This Board serves our students and our community excellently and they are very much deserving of this award.”