UNM’s College of Education & Human Sciences (COEHS) is celebrating an extra special graduating class this May. 

The Educational Leadership Program 2024 spring cohort is one of the largest educational leadership groups in the country, with 25 different students achieving some kind of milestone from UNM’s Department of Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy (TEELP.) 

“We are honored and extremely proud of our students as we look forward to celebrating their educational endeavors,” Educational Leadership Program Associate Professor Shawn Secatero said. 

The Native American Leadership in Education (NALE) Program is graduating seven students, while eight other Native students are earning their bachelor’s degrees with their administrative licensures

In addition, three students are earning their Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, and seven have gained an Educational Leadership, Ed.S. Certificate. All of these educators have also received their administrative licensures, so they’re ready to head out into classrooms as soon as they earn their cap and gown.

“We are fulfilling the dreams of our Native communities through a ‘grow your own’ model so our teachers and administrators can serve in various educational capacities as they return home to their communities,” Secatero said. 

The (Promoting our Leadership, Learning and Empowering our Nations) POLLEN program, which focuses on building up Indigenous school administrators, is also hitting its 60th graduate milestone. This component of the Educational Leadership Program has been around since 2016.  

“For our POLLEN and NALE educators, it’s a great honor to ‘give back’ to our Native communities, and our teachers/administrators are our role models, and they continue to positively impact research, teaching, and service for our future generations,” Secatero said.

This impressive level of diverse graduates is something that continues in enrollment, with 13% of TEELP’s overall students reporting themselves as American Indian. COEHS is truly making a huge impact in bringing qualified, culturally responsive educators and leaders to Native-serving school districts.

“Native teachers and administrators comprise less than 2% of all public school teachers, so it's important for students to see someone who looks like them achieve their bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees,” Secatero said.

Congrats to each of these graduates and licensure earners. They will be officially honored at the COEHS convocation on Saturday, May 11 at 6 p.m. in The Pit.