SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced the new secretary of the New Mexico Public Education Department, Ryan Stewart.
Surrounded by the education agency’s deputy secretaries, a diverse cohort of deeply experienced New Mexico educators and administrators, Lujan Grisham touted Stewart’s work as an educator and reformer in California and Pennsylvania at a Capitol news conference.
“I’m thrilled to introduce Secretary Stewart to New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “It’s no secret I have very high expectations for the Public Education Department; they are as high as can be, frankly, because I share New Mexicans’ sense of urgency about our schools, and it’s our responsibility to deliver the transformation our students and schools deserve. I believe Ryan is the man for this moment. I’m certain educators, superintendents, parents, legislators and stakeholders will be struck by his energy and vision, as I was, and I’m further certain New Mexico public school students will greatly benefit from the turnaround he will oversee. I’m eager for him to get started.”
Stewart, an educator with diverse classroom and leadership experience in public education and education reform, is executive director of the Partners in School Innovation mid-Atlantic region, based in Philadelphia. Partners in School Innovation is a leading national nonprofit dedicated to boosting educational opportunities and outcomes for low-income students of color. Stewart was previously executive director of the Office of School Improvement and Innovation at the School District of Philadelphia, the eighth-largest school district in the U.S., where he also served as special assistant to the superintendent, leading the district’s principal effectiveness efforts and identifying methods to increase the transparency, equity, and strategic alignment of the district's school funding model
He also worked as lead mentor at the nonprofit New Teacher Center, advising new educators, particularly middle school math and science teachers, as well as principals and district personnel on professional development and data analysis. Stewart was an algebra and science teacher at Cesar Chavez Academy, part of the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, Calif. Among various fellowships and professional activities, Stewart served on the board of the Council on African American Affairs, now the Ron Brown Scholar Community Service Foundation, a Washington-based think tank emphasizing system issues facing African American communities. Stewart earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and his doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“New Mexico right now is synonymous with opportunity,” said Stewart. “Already, I am awed by the collective sense of buy-in, by the excitement permeating the state’s public education ecosystem, everyone’s evident willingness to come together to solve the challenges we face. We’ll take on those challenges without fear. I’m humbled by the chance to do this work in this incredible state, and I look forward to meeting with the students, the top-flight educators, the dedicated unions and school administrators. Together, I know we will make the difference New Mexicans expect and deserve.”