Las Vegas, New Mexico – The Highlands University School of Education interim dean Belinda Laumbach retires June 30.
Laumbach served as interim dean since January 2013 and was also a longtime School of Education faculty member.
During her tenure as interim dean, Laumbach garnered approximately $500,000 in grants from the New Mexico Higher Education Department and New Mexico Public Education Department.
“The grants targeted professional development for middle school teachers as well as teacher preparation for areas of high need like special education,” Laumbach said.
She added that the grants helped increase enrollment in the School of Education by paying for tuition, books and fees for students.
Laumbach was instrumental in another grant award for Highlands. In 2014, Evonne Roybal-Tafoya, Education Outreach Services director, wrote a successful $2.1 million U.S. Department of Education grant for 200 teachers to receive tuition and textbooks scholarships to pursue online master’s degrees in the School of Education. Laumbach and the education faculty collaborated with Roybal-Tafoya on the Conectado grant proposal.
Laumbach said interest is strong from teachers interested in completing their master’s degrees in education online through the Conectado program.
Some other highlights of Laumbach’s tenure as interim dean include establishing new memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with education entities such as Albuquerque Public Schools, Los Alamos Public Schools, and Strategies for Technology Assistance in Rural Settings (STARS), a New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation program that provides assistive technology to students of all ages.
Reflecting on her 45-year career in education, Laumbach said: “What’s been the most rewarding to me has been seeing my students succeed as teachers and grow in the confidence of their knowledge so they can share it with their teaching colleagues.”
Laumbach earned both her B.A. and M.A. in education from Highlands and was a middle school and high school teacher for 19 years. In 1994 she completed her doctorate in multicultural, childhood and secondary education from the University of New Mexico.
She joined the Highlands School of Education faculty in 1994 teaching courses in teaching methods, bilingual and multicultural education, and secondary education, among others.
“My passion and commitment to education will always be a part of my life. But after 45 years in education, it’s time to retire to writing poetry and children’s books. I’ll also have more time to grow calabacitas – small squash,” Laumbach said.