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Rio Rancho Public Schools

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Introduction

Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS) is a school district located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Rio Rancho Public Schools serves the municipality of Rio Rancho. The school district has a total of 19 schools. The district has two high schools, two alternative high schools, four middle schools, 10 elementary schools and 1 preschool.

Vision

Student Excellence

Mission

Rio Rancho Public schools is dedicated to graduating each student with and educational foundation for success as a responsible, ethical contributor to society.

History

Founding

Rio Rancho Public Schools was created as a K-8 system because no high school existed in Rio Rancho at the time the district was founded in July 1994. At the time the children of Rio Rancho attended schools which were part of two different school districts. Students living south of Northern Blvd. were a part of the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) with high school students attended Cibola High School. Students living north of Northern Blvd were part of the Jemez Valley Public Schools district, though most high school students attended classes at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque, the only APS high school that had room for them at the time. Small numbers of high school students were scattered through nine additional Albuquerque metro area schools.

In 1986 the Rio Rancho city council presented a referendum on the ballot calling for the creation of a new school district which was soundly defeated at the polls. In December 1992 a steering committee known as Rio Rancho 2000, was created based on a September feasibility study which revealed that the community could support a school district. The committee sent a request to Dr. Alan Morgan, the New Mexico State Superintendent of Education at the time, and petitioned APS and Jemez Valley to sign a joint resolution calling for the new school district. The New Mexico State Board of Education approved the creation of the Rio Rancho Public School district on July 9, 1993.[1]

Growth

Since the start of Rio Rancho Public Schools in 1994 the district has grown from 5,900 students to over 17,000,[2] and from seven campuses to nineteen. Through historic partnership with Intel Corporation, Sandoval County, the City of Rio Rancho, and the school district the first high school, Rio Rancho High School, was opened in 1997. Due to the rapid growth of the area and overcrowding at Rio Rancho High School a second high school, V. Sue Cleveland High School, was opened in 2009.

Schools

High Schools

Middle Schools

Elementary Schools

Preschools

Accomplishments

• 1998: Mountain View math and science teacher Patricia Dworsky receives the President’s Award for Excellence, the nation’s top award for teachers of math and science.

• 2000: Rio Rancho High Activities Director Susan McConnell is named state Student Council Advisor of the Year. • Eagle Ridge Principal Ruth Miller receives the UNM Krueger Award for excellence in educational leadership; in 2002 she is named NM’s Middle School Principal of the Year.

• 2001: RRPS’s first athletics director, Gary Hveem, is named New Mexico Athletic Director of the Year for the second time.

• 2002: Colinas del Norte (and later Shining Stars Preschool) Principal Suzanne Harper is named a Milken National Educator, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for educators.

• 2003: RRHS principal Gary Tripp is the NM Association of Student Councils Administrator of the Year • RRHS SciMatics Academy Head Russ Fisher‐Ives is one of five international finalists for the annual Intel Excellence in Teaching Award.

• 2004‐05: Superintendent Dr. V. Sue Cleveland is named New Mexico Superintendent of the Year and is one of four national finalists for AASA National Superintendent of the Year. • RRPS’ founding Special Services Executive Director Maggie Cordova is named New Mexico’s Special Education Administrator of the Year before she passes away after a long battle with breast cancer. In April 2005, she is posthumously awarded the CASE Harrie Selznick Award, the highest national award for special educators. Maggie Cordova Elementary is named in her honor.

• 2005: Transportation Executive Director Theresa Saiz is named the state’s outstanding student transportation administrator. • Colinas del Norte Assistant Principal Ellen Bruno is the New Mexico PTA Principal of the Year. • Rio Rancho Mid‐High Principal Scott Affentranger is named New Mexico High School Principal of the Year.

• 2006: The RRPS Maintenance Department and late Maintenance Manger Sam Hart win the Ben Lujan Award for outstanding achievement. • RRPS Finance Executive Director Randy Evans is NM School Business Executive of the Year.

• 2008: Blythe Turner, bilingual/ELL teacher at Rio Rancho Elementary, is named New Mexico’s Teacher of the Year. • Janna Stewart, Mountain View Middle School teacher, is named an American Star of Teaching by the US Department of Education.

• 2010 and 2011: Athena Kingrey is the state champion bus driver.

• 2011: RRHS math teacher and content leader Rob Keeney is a winner of the Sandia Laboratories/Lockheed Martin PI Award • Director of Secondary Special Education Theresa Golden is named New Mexico Special Educator of the Year • Three RRPS teachers have received the Gilder‐Lehrman Award as New Mexico’s History Teacher of the Year: Georgia Babb, Puesta del Sol Elementary (2011); Kelly Pearce, Vista Grande Elementary/Mountain View Middle (2013); Ella‐Kari Loftfield, Cleveland High (2014). • Julie Arnold, Mountain View Principal, is NM Middle School Principal of the Year. • Rio Rancho Middle School science teacher Colin DeGroot is honored by the ING Unsung Heroes Program. • RRHS art teacher Diane Lea is the NM Arts Educator of the Year.

• 2012: Puesta del Sol Elementary science teacher Bryan Montoya is named the New Mexico Academy of Science’s Elementary Science Teacher of the Year. • Cielo Azul Elementary music teacher Mika Proctor receives the John Batchellor Excellence in Teaching Elementary Music Award as the Elementary Music Teacher of the Year. • Cleveland High Vice‐Principal Renee Saucedo is New Mexico’s High School Assistant Principal of the Year. • Rio Rancho High Activities Director Bill Duncan is named the New Mexico Student Council Adviser of the Year and is one of eight finalists for the national Adviser of the Year award. • District Nurse Coordinator Lee Carn wins the NM State School Nurses Association’s Marlene McDowell Award.

• 2013: Virginia “Vergie” Nevarez, Rio Rancho High health assistant and co-founder of the “Ram Rack” clothing bank and exchange, is a recipient of the local American Red Cross “Real Heroes” award. • RRHS school nurse Julie Lords is NM School Nurse of the Year.

• 2014: RRHS principal Richard VonAncken is named NM Student Council Administrator of the Year. • RRHS teacher and English instructional leader Leslie Keeney is recognized by the College Board as a champion for Advanced Placement. • Cleveland High robotics teacher Kim Griego is named one of eight New Mexico “Women in Technology.” • Dr. Happy Miller, RRPS testing and accountability chief, receives the NM School Boards Excellence for Student Achievement Award.

• RRPS Golden Apple recipients include Patricia Dworsky (2000, Mountain View MS), Christina Lytle (2009, Mountain View MS), Ray Rodriguez (2012, Lincoln MS) and Andrea Yarbrough (2012, Mountain View MS).

References

  1. Inside Our Schools - Volume 20, Number 1 - Summer 2014.
  2. Rio Rancho Public School District Profile (December 2015).