By Mike Cook
Pamela Cort was appointed in July to fill a vacancy on the education committee of Las Cruces public schools and is aiming for a full four-year term in the local elections on November 2nd.
Cort grew up in Santa Fe and has lived in Las Cruces for 31 years. After starting her career at Albuquerque Public Schools, she taught French at Las Cruces High School for 26 years and retired in May 2019.
“I’ve been an educator all my life,” said Cort, who is making her first offer for public office. After Terrie Dallman resigned, she was appointed to the school board by the four remaining members.
Cort said she chose to run for a full term on the board because “some very specific things I want to do to take care of our children,” said Cort, including a “fair result for all of our students,” independently of which their ethnicity or which language they speak.
She also wants activity buses to be deployed at LCPS high schools so that those students who wish to stay after regular school hours can join clubs and organizations or other after-school activities they may be interested in.
“When students have a sense of belonging, they are more active and successful in school,” said Cort.
Cort said she also wishes there was less emphasis on standardized tests to determine student success. Alternatives such as student portfolios ensure that student needs are met and incorporate each student’s “rich cultural and language history” rather than the “only one” of a standardized test.
Cort said she was very supportive of community schools. In August, she attended the Ribbon Cut for LCPS’s fifth community school, the Alameda Elementary.
“What I love about community schools is that they first assess the needs of the community and then work with community partners to make sure those needs are met,” she said.
“It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful what we can do as a community when we all come together to make sure everyone in the community is fine,” said Cort.
There are 12 schools in LCPS District 2 that Cort represents on the board of directors, and she has attended them all, Cort said.
“We just have such great schools in Las Cruces,” she said. “I am so proud of our district. We do such cool things for kids. I just want to continue this work. “
Cort said she appreciated “the adaptability of LCPS” since the pandemic began and the need to incorporate distance learning and “address the social and emotional issues associated with it for the entire community – not just the children, but everyone”.
“We have to keep reinventing the idea of schools,” said Cort, to make the changes necessary to make LCPS “our top priority to be successful as a child.”
“The biggest challenge facing teachers right now is making sure everyone feels safe so they can study,” said Cort. “Students need someone who stands up for them and gives them a feeling of security and appreciation.”
Cort said she knew and worked with the late Karen Trujillo who was LCPS superintendent until she was killed in a car accident in February.
Trujillo “did such a wonderful job and had so many great things on site,” said Cort. “I think it made (new superintendent) Ralph (Ramos) easier to take over.”
Now I’m working directly with Ramos: “I’m so impressed,” said Cort. “He works so hard to make sure we are doing what is best for the children. He always looks ahead. “
Cort was named LCPS Teacher of the Year in 2012 and New Mexico Teacher of the Year in 2013.
Cort holds a BA in French from Washington State University, an MA in Curriculum and Teaching from New Mexico State University, and an Ed.S. (Educator) in curriculum, teaching and assessment from Walden University.
Visit pamelacort4lcps.com and www.facebook.com/Pamela-Cort-for-LCPS-District-2-108807451522554.