Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3


Semester 3: Episode 7

So Much Education News, So Little Time (with Dominica Chavez)

We take a break from our traditional interviews, and welcome Dominica Chavez, NewMexicoKidsCAN Advocacy Manager as a co-host for this week’s episode! Together, Dominica and Amanda talk about a few important news stories in the New Mexico education world including the 180-day instructional rule lawsuit, the Governor’s Summer Literacy Program, the starts and stalls for New Mexico’s high impact tutoring efforts, and finally, an update to the NMVistas website.

We also continue our new “Questions from the Field” segment. In this episode, we answer a listener’s question about whether or not school board members are trained to review student data. Have a question for us? Submit it here!

Semester 3: Episode 6

Think Globally, Act Locally (with John Binnert)

John Binnert, Executive Director of Cottonwood Classical Charter School, joins us for a conversation about what the state can learn from Cottonwood Classical and how students at Cottonwood are outperforming students from across the world! Tune in and learn about what an International Baccalaureate diploma is and what it means for students at Cottonwood Classical.

We also continue our new “Questions from the Field” segment. In this episode, we answer a listener’s question about LETRS training and how teachers are adapting to the training. Have a question for us? Submit it here!

Semester 3: Episode 5

School Transformation (with Principal Kim Finke)

Kimberly Finke, APS principal, joins Amanda for a conversation about her experience “transforming” Whittier Elementary School after it was identified as one of the four worst schools in New Mexico. Kim discusses what she’s learned from her experiences in schools within and outside of APS and the systems utilized in strong schools. She also shares her thoughts on whether or not there is hope for New Mexico schools.

Also – in this episode, we debut our new “Questions from the Field” segment! Have a question for us? Submit it here!

Semester 3: Episode 4

Don’t Close Doors for Your Child (with Angela Lopez)

Angela Lopez, Field Director for Public Charter Schools of New Mexico joins Amanda for a conversation about school enrollment season. It’s never too early to consider all the options for your child’s education next school year. Amanda and Angela discuss enrollment timelines for charter schools, magnet schools and even some private schools. Tune in to learn more about how to find the school that is best for your child!

Check out the Public Charter Schools of New Mexico School Finder.

Want help learning about your charter school options? Contact Angela by emailing:

Semester 3: Episode 3

Our Students Are Counting on Us (with Dr. Gabriella Blakey)

Newly named Superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, Dr. Gabriella Durán Blakey joins us for a conversation just days after she was announced as superintendent of New Mexico’s largest school district. Dr. Blakey shares more about her history in teaching in Washington and New Mexico, opening a charter school and her goals for the district in her new role.

Semester 3: Episode 2

Making Our Hopes, Our Reality (with Secretary Arsenio Romero)

New Mexico Secretary of Education of New Mexico, Dr. Arsenio Romero returns to the studio for a timely conversation about the Public Education Department’s priorities for the legislative session. Amanda and Secretary discuss the need for continued implementation of structured literacy across the Land of Enchantment and the Governor’s goals for literacy in New Mexico.


Want to learn more about the APS superintendent hiring process, submit a question for the finalists, or get the details for the upcoming community events on January 30? Check out the APS website for all the information, or submit your questions here.

Semester 3: Episode 1

The Opportunity Myth (with Kristin Algier)

Kristin Algier, partner at national education nonprofit, TNTP joins Amanda to talk about the Opportunity Myth. What’s the opportunity myth you ask? Listen in to find out and hear Kristin and Amanda discuss how to improve classroom instruction across New Mexico schools. We talk about the bright spots and the challenges in ensuring every New Mexico student has access to grade appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement and teachers with high expectations.

Read the Opportunity Myth report here.


Semester 2: Episode 8

Free, Public & Open to All (with Matthew Pahl)

Matthew Pahl, Executive Director of Public Charter Schools of New Mexico, joins us for a conversation about the state’s charter schools. Matt and Amanda discuss some recent polling data demonstrating what New Mexicans think about charter schools and Matt does some myth busting about charter schools. We also dive into the upcoming charter enrollment season! Tune in to learn more about charter schools and get some tips on how to navigate charter school lotteries!

Check out the Public Charter Schools of New Mexico School Finder here.

Follow PCSNM on Facebook here.

Semester 2: Episode 7

New Momentum at APS (with Courtney Jackson)

In this episode we are joined by APS Board of Education member, Courtney Jackson. Courtney was elected to the APS Board of Education in 2021. In this episode. Courtney discusses the challenges of serving on the school board, the district’s new strategic plan, and the search for the next superintendent. She reflects on the new momentum in the state’s largest district and reflects on why it’s critical that the community hold the district accountable to continuing the progress.

Read more about the APS Strategic Plan here.

Watch the video about the strategic plan here.

Learn about the district’s search for a new superintendent here.

Semester 2: Episode 6

Challenging Education (with Jessie Barrie)

Dr. Jessie Barrie, Head of School at Albuquerque’s Bosque School, joins us to chat about what the school’s tagline “challenging education” means and expanding access to quality education. We also discuss the successes of Bosque School, the nonprofits that were incubated at Bosque and Dr, Barrie’s hopes for New Mexico’s students.

Learn more about Bosque school here.

Follow Dr. Jessie Barrie on Instagram here.

Semester 2: Episode 5

Statewide Academic Performance Results (with Kelsey McCaffrey)

BREAKING NEWS: Academic performance results have been released by the NMPED. In this episode, Kelsey McCaffrey, Principal in Residence at Albuquerque Collegiate Charter Schools joins Amanda to discuss the results and what they mean for New Mexico’s students, teachers, and district leaders. Tune in to learn more about New Mexico’s academic performance!

Read Kelsey’s Op-Ed Here.

Learn more about Albuquerque Collegiate here.

Semester 2: Episode 4

Both And (with Juaquin Moya)

Juaquin Moya, founder of Horizons Albuquerque, joins us for a conversation about what’s possible for students in Albuquerque when they are provided the support they need. Juaquin reflects on starting Horizons Albuquerque, a transformational, community-centered education program proven to close the opportunity gap. Juaquin also shares about his experiences attending and working with both private and public schools.
Learn more about Horizons Albuquerque here.

Semester 2: Episode 3

Believe in Better (with Derrell Bradford)

This episode of the New Mexico Rising Podcast is a fun one! Derrell Bradford, President of 50CAN joins us as a guest host! Derrell interviews our Executive Director, Amanda Aragon. The two of them chat about Amanda’s background, her passion for education, and the work NewMexicoKidsCAN is doing to improve education in New Mexico.

Sign up for NewMexicoKidsCAN’s email list here.

Semester 2: Episode 2

Improving Literacy in New Mexico (with Allison Caldwell)

Allison Caldwell, a structured literacy coach, has over 15 years of experience in the education field. This episode is all about literacy! Allison shares her experiences as a literacy coach, what is being done to improve New Mexico’s literacy rates and the importance of elevating this conversation for educators, parents and all community members.

We also discuss the upcoming screening of the Right to Read documentary, which will be held on Tuesday, October 10, at the Hispanic Cultural Center.

Join the New Mexico: Science of Reading-What I Should Have Learned in College Facebook Group.
Interested in joining The Reading League? Click here.
Register for the Right to Read Screening here.

Semester 2: Episode 1

Finding Inspiration in Farmington (with Kyle Rhodes)

Kyle Rhodes, former President of the Farmington school board and CEO of PESCO, joins us in our first episode of semester 2. Kyle shares his passion for providing children with the opportunity to succeed, his role in improving student outcomes for Farmington Municipal Schools and why he is optimistic about what is possible for New Mexico’s education system.


Semester 1: Episode 10

Honesty in Education (with Rebekka Burt)

Rebekka Burt, Vice-Chair of the Public Education Commission joins us for a conversation about the importance of quality charter school authorizing. What’s charter school authorizing you ask? Tune in to learn more about this critical role in New Mexico’s education system. Bekka also shares more about how she navigated school options to find the right fit for her daughters and a special tidbit about the Rio Rancho High School football team.

Semester 1: Episode 9

Siempre Use Su Voz (with Isaac Rivas-Savell)

Meet the founder and CEO of Voz Collegiate Preparatory School, Isaac Rivas-Savell! Isaac shares his journey of starting a high-performing charter school in Albuquerque and the challenges he has overcome. He also discusses the progress that has been made and the importance of family legacy.

Semester 1: Episode 8

New Goals for APS (with Yolanda Montoya-Cordova)

In Episode 8, we chat with the President of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, Yolanda Montoya-Cordova. She discusses her path to serving as a board member and APS’ new plan to improve student outcomes.

Semester 1: Episode 7

Preparing New Mexico Students to Reach Their Potential (with Secretary Dr. Arsenio Romero)

Meet Dr. Arsenio Romero, New Mexico’s new Secretary of Education! Secretary Romero joins us to discuss his new role and what he plans to accomplish for the students and families of New Mexico. In this episode you will learn more about our new Secretary of Education including his background, educational experience, and how he plans to tackle the monumental task of improving education in the Land of Enchantment.

Semester 1: Episode 6

2023 Legislative Update (with Matt Pahl)

Matt Pahl, Executive Director of Public Charter Schools of New Mexico joins us to provide our listeners with an update on New Mexico’s legislative session! Tune in to hear a summary of the big education ideas being debated and how Amanda and Matt think they will impact New Mexico Schools.

Semester 1: Episode 5

A Proof Point School In ABQ’s South Valley (with Jade Rivera)

Jade Rivera, Founder and Executive director of Albuquerque Collegiate Charter School, joins us to discuss what led her to start a high performing school in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Jade shares more about the excellent results her school has achieved, especially in early literacy and what she believes is possible for New Mexico students. Jade also shares with listeners tips for school enrollment season and reviews the process and timing for charter school applications.

Semester 1: Episode 4

What I Knew to Do Was Entirely Wrong (with Bella Chandler)

Bella Chandler, kindergarten teacher at S.Y. Jackson Elementary in Albuquerque, NM shares her vulnerable journey to learning about the Science of Reading and how it completely changed the way she teaches reading in her classroom. 14 years into her career, Bella realized that everything she knew to do was wrong. After lots of training Bella is now seeing phenomenal results in her classroom and believes New Mexico can dramatically improve literacy rates across the state if we adopt the Science of Reading.

Semester 1: Episode 3

Leading Change in Your Hometown (with Matthew Montano)

Matthew Montano, Superintendent of Bernalillo Public Schools has been leading his hometown school district for a year and half. In this episode he chats with us about the challenges of taking over the leadership of an underperforming school district, how it feels to lead in his hometown and so much more.

Semester 1: Episode 2

Reaching for the Stars (with Yasine Armstrong)

Yasine Armstrong, vice-chair of the Sidney Gutierrez Charter School governing board – has an incredible array of professional experiences which includes everything from working for Former Governor Bill Richardson to co-launching her own company, BabyPage. Yasine is also incredibly involved in the community and is passionate about improving New Mexico’s education system. In this episode she shares more about the incredible work of Sidney Gutierrez Charter School and why she believes this public charter school in Roswell, NM can serve as an example of what is possible for all New Mexico students.

Semester 1: Episode 1

Bringing Educational Excellence Back Home (with Danielle Gonzales)

Danielle Gonzales, APS board member, has dedicated her career to improving education across the county. Recently, she moved home to put her experiences to use where it matters most, her hometown. Danielle is a proud product of APS and earned her Master’s in Education from the University of Notre Dame. In this episode she shares more about her personal and professional experiences, why she decided to come home and run for the school board, and the work happening to improve student outcomes at APS, including the district’s new strategic plan.

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