By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Lonnie Leslie bowed out of the Clovis Municipal Schools system after 33 years of service following health complications. But on Jan. 6, he will be honored by the New Mexico Music Educators Association as Administrator of the Year.
Two years ago, as the assistant superintendent of operations, Leslie trailblazed the passing of a $5 million state bond, according to Clovis Municipal Schools music coordinator Wayne Anderson. The money is to be used in part to build a new band hall for approximately 120 band students. Those students currently practice in the cafeteria or a lecture hall due to lack of space at the high school.
Leslie also secured funds for band uniforms, instruments, and teachers during his tenure in administration.
“When there is something that needs to get done, he doesn’t rest until it gets done,” said former interim superintendent G.C. Ross.
When Leslie had a heart attack a year ago, Ross said he decided to step down from his position, preceded by work as a principal at Marshall Junior High School and as a teacher at Clovis High School.
He was nominated for the award by Clovis Municipal Schools Band Director Bill Allred, and was chosen from an array of other candidates by the executive board of the music association, which promotes music education in schools.
“Lonnie has been a real asset to our education program here in Clovis,” said Ellison Green, a longtime friend of Leslie’s.
Leslie will receive his award Jan. 6 during a New Mexico Music Educator Association luncheon in Albuquerque.