LOS LUNAS — Connecting with the community and establishing goals for the Los Lunas Schools district has been the focus of Superintendent Ryan Kettler as he works his way through his 100-day entry plan.
“A superintendent’s first 100 days are critical for moving forward the important work of educating all Los Lunas Schools students,” Kettler wrote in a letter posted on the LLS website. “The purpose of my entry plan is to establish a clear process as I assume the role of Superintendent in LLS.”
Kettler, whose official start date was on Aug. 14, said his main goal since starting has been to familiarize himself with the district, the community and all stakeholders as much as possible to begin building relationships.
So far, Kettler said he has conducted thorough interviews with all LLS Board of Education and cabinet members, all 15 school principals and is now interviewing directors.
He also wants to learn more about the community beyond LLS by meeting with local leaders.
He has recently met with village of Los Lunas personnel, businesses in the community, Belen Consolidated Schools Superintendent Lawrence Sanchez and University of New Mexico-Valencia campus Chancellor Samuel Dosumu.
Kettler said this is important because he wants to establish a relationship of trust and collaboration both within LLS and the community as a whole.
Also through his 100 day plan, Kettler wants to start looking at student achievement data, attendance rates and graduation data and compare this with previous years to get a sense of what areas they can target for growth.
“There will be a survey going out to families and the community soon to get input from them on how they feel Los Lunas Schools is doing and to offer any feedback,” said Kettler. “After I get those surveys, I’m planning to have two in-person community nights and maybe one online session as well.”
Kettler said the district is also working toward creating a strategic, three-year plan that will be based on survey data and information he’s gathering from visits with personnel and community stakeholders.
“I think organizations work best when everybody is working towards common goals or outcomes,” said Kettler. “To be most effective, I believe we need to establish what those common goals and outcomes are and how we’re going to get there through the strategic plan.”
To implement the plan, the superintendent said the district will identify specific goals, establish steps to achieve them and have checkpoints along the way to make sure they are working towards those goals.
“We’ll also check to see how, and if, we’re meeting those checkpoints and if any adjustments are necessary to help meet goals,” the superintendent said. “That will also help us in budgeting so we know where we need to budget money to meet those goals.”
Kettler wants to begin the process for the strategic plan next school semester after the completion of his 100-day entry plan, which concludes in January 2024.
“I want to be done with the strategic plan in summer so we can roll it out at the beginning of next school year,” he said. “From there, it’s just managing that strategic plan to make sure we’re doing what we say we’re going to do.”
There are also challenges the district is facing that Kettler wants to start addressing; one of them being the end of COVID-19 federal relief funds.
“The last of those funds will be coming to an end in June,” the superintendent said. “We used a lot of that money to buy programs to support kids, and with that money going away, decisions have to be made on what we will move to our operating budget to maintain and what things we can let go.”
Kettler would also like to work on finding ways to increase community and parental involvement at all grade levels, but for high school especially.
“We have good involvement from parents at elementary; it’s pretty good in middle schools and OK at the high schools,” he said. “It’s typical that there’s not as much parent involvement as kids get older, so things like fall festivals and curriculum nights are not as well attended at the high schools and we would like to see that change.”
Kettler said Los Lunas is a great place and he wants to be here for as long as possible to help move the district forward and higher in state achievement rankings.
“We have really good people in Los Lunas Schools top to bottom — people who care about kids and their success and futures,” the superintendent said. “We do a lot of good work, but there is always room for improvement and I want to be a part of that.”
Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.