MMSD New Staff Recognition
Carmen Torres MS/HS Spanish – Carmen Torres was born and raised in Magdalena. She graduated from Magdalena High School in 1978 and attended college at New Mexico State University. After graduating, she taught one semester at Las Cruces High School where she completed her student teaching. In the fall of 1984, Ms. Torres moved to Zuni, NM and taught at Zuni High School and Twin Buttes High School for four and half years. In December, 1988 she moved back to Magdalena and taught at the Middle and High School in Alamo for four and a half years. In 1993, Ms. Torres began working for MMSD teaching History and Spanish. In 2003 she received her MA at the University of New Mexico in Educational Leadership and helped out as part-time administrator.She retired in 2014, but continued teaching part-time for two years, then retired from teaching completely. She worked for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) at the VLA site as a tour guide for a year and a half before deciding to return to teaching. Ms. Torres is very excited to be back in the classroom, and is looking forward to a great year!
Jacob Thomas MS/HS Secretary – Jacob Thomas was born in Socorro, NM and raised in Magdalena. In 2007, Jacob graduated High School from Magdalena and went on to college at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque. After graduating in 2010 with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration, Jacob moved back to Magdalena and worked at the local store as a meat cutter. He worked there while attending high school, weekends in college, and two years full time after college. In 2012, he became a meat cutter for John Brooks where he worked for six years. In October 2018, he worked for First State Bank. In June 2019, he started his career at MMSD. He is looking forward to work with the students and help the best way he can!
Jennifer Keller 1st Grade – Jennifer Keller received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Conservation at Ohio University. She completed her teaching credentials at Northern New Mexico College. She has taught 16 years in Socorro; 10 years at Parkview with kindergarten and 6 years at Cottonwood Valley Charter School with first grade. She is a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator and has worked with injured and orphaned NM wildlife for 22 years. She is an avid gardener, raising both vegetables and landscaping plants to sell in the community. She enjoys traveling around the United States and abroad.
About Magdalena Schools
The Magdalena Municipal School District is a Pre-K through 12th grade school, which is housed on a single campus. MMSD has a multicultural student population of 357. The ethnic structure of the district is approximately 47% Navajo, 29% Hispanic, and 24% Anglo or other. Additionally, in 1988 the district implemented a four-day week schedule to help address and accommodate students who are bussed significant distances. Over half of all MMSD students are bussed, with an average bus ride being 26 miles one way. The longest distance any one student has to travel is 70 miles one way.
The Village of Magdalena is located on the edge of the Cibola National Forest, at the base of the Magdalena Mountains in central New Mexico. The nearest city is Socorro located 26 miles to the east, Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, 100 miles to the northeast. Magdalena’s population is approximately 1,100 and reflects the community’s unique history as a mining town and as one of the largest cattle shipping centers west of Kansas City. Its nickname, “Trail’s End,” is an enduring reminder that for nearly 70 years (1890s-1960s) Magdalena was the end of the trail for cattle drives originating from Arizona to southern Colorado.
Today the community’s principal industries consists of education; the federal government in the form of the National Forest Service; the National Radio and Astronomy Observatory, which operates the Very Large Array (the worlds largest radio telescope) located on the San Augustine plains 25 miles west of Magdalena; the Bureau of Indian Affairs which operates a charter school and Indian Health Services clinic on the Alamo Navajo Indian reservation; and, finally ranching. The public school district is the largest employer.
The Alamo Navajo reservation is located 29 miles north of Magdalena, and is a vital part of the community at large. Although Alamo is a Chapter of the Navajo Nation, it is located approximately 200 miles southeast of the largest reservation in Arizona. Because of their isolation, the Alamo people have maintained a unique traditional and linguistic heritage. The Alamo band is the only living Native American group who is a blend of Navajo and Apache tribes. The Alamo dialect (Navajo) is predominate in the homes and in all tribal government, religious, social, and cultural interactions.