Theresa F. Archuleta
Valle Vista Elementary School
Albuquerque Public Schools
Albuquerque, New Mexico

In leading a high-poverty school, Theresa Archuleta has found it especially important to set high expectations for the academic growth of all students. She also stresses that “it is important to engage the community to share responsibility for student performance and development.” The student population of Archuleta’s urban pre-kindergarten through grade 5 school is 97 percent Hispanic/Latino. So she ensures that all school communications to the 662 students’ homes are in both English and Spanish. She also invites families of struggling learners to help develop school plans to support their children. Last year, a team of school staff members met with more than 125 families. As a result of such efforts, Archuleta has overseen dramatic academic achievement gains in recent years. In the 2008-2009 school year, her school met its targets for Adequate Yearly Progress in all student subgroups. In 2009-2010, the school was recognized by the state’s education department for raising the academic performance of its English language learners. Archuleta believes her school’s dual language and English as a Second Language programs have been key to improving student achievement. Last year, her school also was recognized in its district as a demonstration site for its implementation of a schoolwide focus on achieving continuous improvement. Archuleta received a B.A. from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and an M.A. from the University of New Mexico.