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One of the leaders in learning and workforce development in SNM, John Munoz, recently responded to criticism of charter schools with a joint letter to the editor of the LCSN, co written with Margarita Leza Porter, the New America School principal in Las Cruces.

Charter schools were not created to be better than public schools; they were designed to be different, to provide an environment of innovation, and to address the needs of underserved students.

Mr. Munoz is the chair of that school’s board, but he’s also the leader for this region of the “Sitel” company, who employs a significant portion of the local workforce in call centers. Mr. Munoz has an innovative approach to workforce development for his employees, and plays a key role in their educational advancement through employer training, and employer benefits supporting “going back to school” for further degrees and education.

His role in leadership of a charter school in Las Cruces that seeks to address the educational needs of older and younger students who haven’t found success through the traditional educational opportunities in public schools, is an example of business and education working together in practical ways to solve some of the thorny workforce development challenges in NM.

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PSA is interested in the local version of the best defined learning experiences. John Munoz, Margarita Leza Porter, and others appear to have at least some tasty dishes that fit the local palate well.

We’ll be working to promote awareness of all pieces of the puzzle, including what’s working well in our public schools, and what local businesses are doing in cooperation with our public schools, such as with The Bridge, which has already helped create two “alternate” schools designed to meet specific needs not otherwise being addressed. The early college high schools offer a successful model, that it’s hoped can be scaled up to support larger scale innovation and change in local educational opportunities.