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Susan Sanchez returns to Roswell High

Assistant Principal Susan Sanchez prepares for school starting in her office at Roswell High School on Wednesday afternoon. (Alison Penn Photo)

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After serving as interim superintendent for over a year, Susan Sanchez will be staying in the Independent School District as an assistant principal at Roswell High School. She said RHS is excited to welcome the students of the class of 2022 and returning students.

Sanchez said she is excited to return to RHS and “blessed and fortunate” to work with Principal Rueben Bolanos and the other assistant principals Laura Gonzales and Pillar Carrasco who collectively bring “100 years of education experience” to the staff. Sanchez also acknowledged the RHS staff and 12 new teachers.

“The thought of leaving Roswell wasn’t really an option,” Sanchez said. “I’m invested in my community here in Roswell. I want to give 110 percent — not only to Roswell High but to our community that I live in.”

Sanchez is a Roswell native and graduated from Roswell High School in 1984. With over 29 years of experience in education, Sanchez said she believes her expertise can help RHS attain an 80 percent graduation rate. Sanchez said she was assigned to the position at Roswell High School by Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy and “loves” this decision.

“We are committed this year to increase student achievement, graduation rate, attendance and to ensure we prepare all of our students to be either college or career ready,” Sanchez said. “The 2018-2019 school year brings excitement, energy and commitment to all of our students and our staff here at Roswell High School.”

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In her own words, Sanchez said her role as assistant principal is to help “make students feel valued, respected and be college and career ready.” Sanchez was an assistant principal from 2016 to 2017 at RHS. She said she created connections during her superintendent role and wants to continue giving back to her community.

Sanchez said there is a focus on ensuring safety with school safety and security. The initiative for the secured vestibules in the high schools is underway and RHS is working diligently to finish its vestibule before the school day.

Sanchez shared that during the administrative training during the last three days, she and the administrators were given the active shooter training with presentations from J.R. Herrell, Roswell Police Department’s Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team and Fire Chief Devin Graham. She said the next step is to get the teachers signed up to take the training within the school year.

Another initiative is a student advisory program, which will be monitored to measure its success. Sanchez said the program offers lessons throughout the year involving activities for goal setting, student management, curriculum, graduation plans, to resume building, and how to fill out applications. She said these activities are not just assignments but real-life skills for post-secondary education or career readiness.

A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) tutoring program and writing lab will also be offered. Sanchez said the district realizes students are tired after a full day of school, so the program will be offered for two hours in the evening where students can choose two days a week for enrichment or tutoring.

Sanchez said the Naviance program was launched last year for juniors and seniors to allow them to understand their next steps and track their progress electronically on their way to graduation. Sanchez said the district has decided to expand the program to all high and middle school students.

Sanchez said the dual credit program between the high schools and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell is “dear to her heart.” Now with the school board’s approval, the program will have a five-point grading scale, up to the first 12 hours beginning this fiscal school year. Sanchez said she is excited that the top 10 percent of students can participate without jeopardizing their grade point average.

Sanchez said the district is celebrating this and encouraging students to enroll in the Advanced Placement Program and the dual credit program. In doing so, she said students could potentially finish their freshman year of college at no cost during high school.

“If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,” Sanchez said, offering advice to the students. “Ask any of our teachers, our administration, any of our staff. We’re here to help. We were all in ninth grade at one time — we know what you are going through. It is a scary place a the beginning but we have lots of resources and support to help you.”

On the first day of school, Sanchez said she and the RHS staff members and academic advisors will be in the hallways building relationships with students as well as helping them find their classes. Sanchez said building relationships creates a rapport that eases handling disciplinary situations.

Sanchez was known for attending many athletic and extracurricular events during her time as interim superintendent and she encourages students to get involved in opportunities that make their high school experience successful.

She said she attended the events to offer recognition for her students and staff and is passionate about recognizing accomplishments in the community. In her free time, Sanchez said she will be making cards, volunteering and serving on Tabosa’s Developmental Services board of directors.

“We just have a lot of energy and we’re ready for the school year to start and be able to do some amazing things here in the 2018-2019 school year,” Sanchez said.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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