Year in review: Clovis schools gets new superintendent

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Terry Myers was named Clovis Municipal Schools superintendent, replacing Rhonda Seidenwurm, who resigned after five years with the district.

Liliana Castillo

The past year brought a lot change to schools in Clovis.

Clovis Municipal Schools hired a new superintendent, moved toward a new middle school, and the Clovis High School Wildcat Marching Band took record-setting honors at the state level.

Clovis Christian School implemented a new curriculum in which students progress by subject mastery instead of age or grade.

Clovis Community College opened a new building for its ever-growing nursing program.

Each institution dealt with not-so-new issues also such as budget cuts, a whopping $2.3 million being cut from the Clovis Municipal Schools budget, and CCC celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Cultural Arts Series.

CMS celebrated the success of a $16 million bond issue while CCC put off needed renovations because Education Bond D, which would have provided the college with $1 million, failed.

Both celebrated increased enrollment in 2010.

• Terry Myers was selected as CMS’ new superintendent in July. He replaced Rhonda Seidenwurm, who announced her resignation in January after five years with the district. Board members chose Myers for his enthusiasm and dedication to student success.

• CMS’ bond issue success will mean renovations and construction nearly districtwide. The $16 million in bond money will pay for the district’s 20 percent of a new $30 million 900-student middle school as well as renovations and technology purchases at multiple schools and a new Lockwood Elementary School.

The CMS board of education pushed to get their students out of portable classrooms. Several elementary schools are overcrowded, some by hundreds, and growth from Cannon Air Force Base combined with birth rates and current enrollment means the district needs more room.

CMS decided to build a third middle school and make the three middle schools host to sixth through eighth grade, instead of seventh and eighth grades. That will free up 40 sixth-grade classrooms across the district.

The decision to build a third middle school, rather than an elementary school or a second high school, was based on a recommendation by the district’s Facilities Master Plan Committee, which concluded the new facility would keep the district ahead of the growth.

Even after public outcry the district was unnecessarily building a $30 million school in a year of budget cuts, the district held firm in its decision, partly because the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority had approved the project and therefore approved paying 80 percent of the cost to build it.

When it came time to pick the location of the school, the public spoke out again, not happy about the board’s decision to place the school a mile north of city limits on Wilhite Road. Residents claimed placing the school so far away from the city created infrastructure issues that would cost taxpayers millions.

The board decided to move the location of the school to the northwest corner of Wilhite and Thornton streets.

• After 19 years, Clovis resident Lora Harlan resigned from the CMS board of education amid the district’s search for a new superintendent. Harlan represented District 3.

• Ranchvale Elementary School won a national honor in September when it was named a Blue Ribbon School. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or have demonstrated dramatic gains in student achievement. Ranchvale was the second CMS school to win the honor after Mesa Elementary earned the designation in 2001.

Ranchvale was one of only three in New Mexico and 314 across the country named a Blue Ribbon School in 2010.

• CCC opened Phase I of the Allied Health Center on their campus at the end of October, dedicated to Clovis residents and friends of the college Don and Gustenia Bonner.

The building became home to the college’s burgeoning nursing program.