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NMSU Extension program helps officials earn leadership certifications in their fields

SANTA FE, N.M. - A graduating class of 43 public servants received certifications in their fields recently through an education program administered by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

Large group of people
Recent graduates of NM EDGE's County College and the New Mexico Certified Public Managers were recognized on Jan. 23 in Santa Fe during the New Mexico Association of Counties' Legislative Conference. NM EDGE is a program designed to provide a comprehensive course of study to administrators, managers, elected officials and staff in local, state, tribal and national government agencies. Graduates are, front from left, Kathryn Minter of Lincoln County, Linda Gallegos of Colfax County, Pauline Jaramillo of Socorro County, Joaquin Valdez of Los Alamos County, Joanne Hethcox of Luna County, Antonia Santistevan of Taos County, Elsa Ornelas-Segura of Santa Fe County and Mary DeLorenzo, NM EDGE program director. Second row are Kristi Graham of Colfax County, Elaine Estrada of San Miguel County, Stephanie Leger of San Miguel County, Jose Luis Gallegos of Rio Arriba County, Danny Gonzales of Luna County, Shannon Lathrop of Lea County, Gloria Sue Dowell of Quay County, and Ginger Herndon of Otero County. Third row are Jon Boren, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service director; Steve Kopelman, NMAC executive director; Theresa Romero of Santa Fe County, Lillie Laney of Catron County, Sam Kelly of Curry County, Marty Martinez of Los Alamos County, Kay Stueve of Otero County, Sharla Kennedy of Lea County, Laura Montoya of Sandoval County, Rosalie Riley of Curry County, Gary Perez of Santa Fe County, and Mark Legarreta of NM EDGE. Back row are MarkWillard of Chavez County, Paul Ponce of Dona Ana County, Nick Sanchez of Taos County, Ben Roberts of Curry County, Gary Hassen of Lea County, Curt Temple of Lincoln County, Aaron Chavez of Village of Los Lunas, Reese Fullerton, Academic Advisor to NM EDGE; Victoria Edwards of San Juan County, Katherine Miller of Santa Fe County, Lisa Griego of Santa Fe County and Wendell Bostwick, NMAC president. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

Through its Certified Public Manager and County College programs, NM EDGE, which stands for Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the public sector graduated its largest-ever class of public servants at a recent ceremony during the Legislative Conference of the New Mexico Association of Counties.

To obtain a certification designation, the students must complete a required number of three-hour classes depending on the certification, and a portfolio demonstrating, through written and project work, their application of the competencies learned by participating in the classes.

Jon Boren, New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service director, and Steven Kopelman, New Mexico Association of Counties executive director, presented each graduate with their certificate and a commemorative lapel pin as the graduates names were read by Mary DeLorenzo, NM EDGE program director.

Among the graduates were the first Public Regulatory Commission commissioners to complete the New Mexico Certified Advocate in Public Ethics designation, and the first group of county assessors to complete the New Mexico Certified Public Assessment Officer designation.

"The PRC and its commissioners are demonstrating a real commitment to effective and transparent public service through their proactive participation in the public ethics classes as part of the CAPE program," DeLorenzo said.

PRC Commissioners Valerie Espinoza, District 3; Theresa Becenti-Aguilar, District 4; and Ben Hall, District 5; along with Yolanda Dominguez, Hall's executive assistant, completed nine three-hour classes in a comprehensive course of study in public service ethics, including how ethics relate to New Mexico law, decision-making, public-private partnerships, stewardship, conflict of interest, appearances vs. reality and much more.

"Additionally, each completed a mini-portfolio reflecting on the class content and how they apply the material to their work at the PRC," DeLorenzo said.

Also earning the CAPE designation were Linda Gallegos, Colfax County assessor, and Kristi Graham, Colfax County chief deputy assessor.

Of the graduating group, 10 received designations in the NM EDGE County College program. Kopelman expressed NMAC's pride in the accomplishment of its members. Wendell Bostwick, NMAC president, share high praise for the program and its effectiveness with the audience of more than 500 gathered for the ceremony as part of the NMAC Legislative Conference closing session.

The original County College program administered through NM EDGE graduated its first-ever New Mexico Certified Public Assessment Officers at this ceremony.

"While the public assessment officer designation was one of the first customized certifications to be developed for the County College, there were no graduates in the program until now," DeLorenzo said. "There will be many additional graduates in the months to come, in part, thanks to the commitment made by NMAC's Assessor Affiliate's members."

To earn the certified public assessment officer designation, two county assessors and four chief deputy assessors completed 26 three-hour classes plus a portfolio project.

Receiving the designation were Lillie Laney, Catron County chief deputy assessor; Mark Willard, Chavez County chief deputy assessor; Linda Gallegos, Colfax County assessor; Kristi Graham, Colfax County chief deputy assessor; Paul Ponce, Dona Ana County chief deputy assessor; and Elaine Estrada, San Miguel County assessor.

Other customized certifications awarded during the ceremony were the New Mexico Certified County Commissioner and the New Mexico Certified Treasury Officer.

Three county commissioners -- Kathryn Minter of Lincoln County, Gloria Sue Dowell of Quay County and Pauline Jaramillo of Socorro County -- earned county commissioner designation by completing 24 three-hour classes plus a portfolio project. Theresa Romero of Santa Fe County earned the treasury officer designation by completing 21 three-hour classes plus a portfolio project.

Two levels of the core designations in the New Mexico Certified Public Manager program were awarded during the ceremony.

Thirty-five graduates earned designations in the nationally recognized New Mexico Certified Public Manager Program. The program has three core certification programs in which students build on their course work as they advance from certified public official to certified public supervisor to certified public manager.

During the ceremony, 24 graduates earned the New Mexico Certified Public Official designation, having completed 18 three-hour classes plus a portfolio project.

Receiving the CPO designation were:
? Curry County: Sam Kelly, appraiser; Rosalie Riley, county clerk; and Ben Roberts, construction and safety officer.
? Lea County: Gary Hassen, IT technician in the sheriff's department; Sharla Kennedy, county assessor; and Susan Marinovich, chief deputy treasurer.
? Lincoln County: Kathryn Minter, county commissioner; and Curt Temple, planning director.
? Otero County: Ginger Herndon, purchasing agent; and Kay Stueve, purchasing
? Quay County: Gloria Sue Dowell, county commissioner.
? San Juan County: Victoria Edwards, indigent health claims processor.
? Sandoval County: Lawrence Griego, lead appraiser; and Laura Montoya, county treasurer.
? Santa Fe County: Debra Garcia, GIS technician; Lisa Griego, project director; Katherine Miller, county manager; Elsa Ornelas-Segura, administrative assistant; and Gary Perez, chief deputy assessor.
? Socorro County: Pauline Jaramillo, county commissioner.
? Taos County: Nick Sanchez, chief appraiser; and Antonio Santistevan, detention center administrative assistant.
? New Mexico Game & Fish: Bradly Spencer, IT technical support specialist.
? Village of Los Lunas: Aaron Chavez, IT division, computer specialist.

Eleven graduates earned the second-tier designation of New Mexico Certified Public Supervisor by completing 30 three-hour classes and a six-hour culminating assessment in which the student demonstrates the application of competencies learned through participating in the certified public manager classes.

Receiving the CPS designation were:
? City of Deming: Wesley Hooper, community services director.
? Colfax County: Linda Gallegos, county assessor, and Kristi Graham, chief deputy assessor.
? Lea County: Shannon Lathrop, CIS analyst technician.
? Los Alamos County: Marty Martinez, appraiser, and Joaquin Valdez, chief deputy assessor.
? Luna County: Danny Gonzales, human resource payroll director, and Joanne Hethcox, budget and procurement director.
? Rio Arriba County: Jose L. Gallegos, assistant detention administrator of operations.
? San Miguel County: Elaine Estrada, county assessor, and Stephanie Leger, first deputy assessor.

"We feel this program directly assists us in our mission to take practical education to every part of our state. We couldn't be more pleased with the enthusiastic response to the program," Boren said of the NM EDGE program. "We continue to find collaborative ways to reach out to new partners toward our mutual goal of better government through education."