February 2016 Member Spotlight - Ray Trejo
Deming Public Schools, Deming, New Mexico
ALAS Superintendent Leadership Academy Alum, Cohort III
Career Highlights & Education: This is my 24th year working for Deming Public Schools here in New Mexico along the Mexican border. I have worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of transportation, director of student services and currently, assistant superintendent. My career highlights began when I was a teacher. I had the opportunity to teach students who were American citizens, but resided in Mexico with their families. Every morning they walked across the Mexican border through Customs Border Protection and were bused 30 miles one way to their school. The parents were very supportive and knew that the key to their child’s success was through education. Keep in mind that these were some of the poorest children that I have ever seen. Despite the long bus ride and challenges they faced every day, they still managed to get to school every day. As a new and motivated teacher, I along with fellow teachers organized fundraisers to raise enough money to take students to New York City each year. This completely changed their lives as well as mine.
What I like best about my job: Advocating for students least served by giving them the opportunities they might not have otherwise. I also like the challenges each day brings to my job while working with our principals and the community to bring those partnerships together on behalf of students.
The best advice I’ve ever received: A mentor once told me after I did not receive a promotion I thought I deserved, “How you handle yourself from this point forward will determine the rest of your career.” I took the advice and supported the person who received the position and used it as an opportunity to learn and grow and ultimately the experience made me the person I am today.
Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: Surround yourself with great people and never forget to acknowledge your staff. Take care of those that are taking care of you. Do not forget those in your district support service roles, such as bus drivers and student nutritional staff, etc. Be very strategic in your initiatives and remember that failure is part of the process.
If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: Outdoors on my mountain bike, training my bird dogs or perfecting my archery skills.
People would be surprised to know that: I used to be a professional farrier (horseshoer) and made a living doing that while attending Western New Mexico University. I also supplemented my family’s income while competing in rodeos as a team roper.
One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: It creates a support network and provides opportunities to future Latino and Latina educational leaders who want to enhance their leadership skills while supporting staff and students.