With a little more than a week to go before commencing her new position as Superintendent of Schools, Channell Segura Ed.D. has already been working hard to be fully up to speed when her contract officially starts.
Most recently the Program Manager for AVID-Western Region in Santa Fe, Dr. Segura has been in the community almost full time since the end of March. She and her husband Matthew, daughter Nevada and son Cole have long had a second home in Elephant Butte. Recently they closed on and moved into a new, permanent home there. “We’ve been coming here for 20 years,” Dr. Segura told us recently. “We’ve had a boat at the lake and come here as often as possible. It was always our plan to retire here.”
AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination is a non-profit that provides professional development and learning opportunities for educators to help them develop strategies to improve college readiness of their students. Before that, Dr. Segura’s professional path had covered the gamut of public education. Starting out teaching English Language Arts at Capital High School, in Santa Fe, from which she herself graduated, she then headed that school as principal before going on to serve as Assistant Superintendent of the Santa Fe Public Schools.
With a love for both the schools and education as well as the community, Dr. Segura is intent on hitting the ground running. She has been meeting and talking with people across the district, in the schools and across Sierra County. “One of the most important pieces to developing any ongoing and effective plan, is to listen.” She has been looking in depth at all aspects of the school district. “One thing is finding ways to grow the relationship between community and schools.”
Community, and more specifically, the Sierra County community has a special importance to Dr. Segura, having spent a lot of time here, all her adult life. She feels very much at home here “I want to include the community and increase opportunities for schools and community to interact.” With many local roots already growing, even her son and daughter were excited to take on the new opportunity to switch schools. Daughter Nevada will be a sophomore at Hot Springs High and son Cole, an eighth grader at T-or-C Middle School. Both are involved in both sports and academics.
Dr. Segura is avid in a desire to build pride in our schools, student outreach into the community and is a strong supporter of the sports program as well as other student activities, from Science Olympiad to FFA. “I want our students to always be striving to excel, to reach toward ever higher heights.” She summed it up well in just three points, “Elevate expectations and eliminate barriers enhance opportunities.”
Dr. Segura talked about wanting faculty and staff to not be afraid of failing, that they should be empowered to embrace and try new things without fearing the worst, and instead to always be seeking to improve. “People have to have the freedom to fail,” she said. “Far worse than trying something and not having it work out, is to be afraid to even try new things. We want to raise those expectations in students. I want to increase the number of AP classes [advanced placement] and encourage all students that have that desire, to take them. Then we, as educators, need to do all we can to help them to succeed.”
Dr. Segura is a new face at school, but a familiar face across the community, with friends at every turn. This should provide a big assist in strengthening the bonds between schools and community.
At the Hot Springs High Class of 2020 graduation, she was there to greet and congratulate every graduate. At the event she was asked by one of our coaches about her choice of colors worn, red and black. “I’ll never make that mistake again,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve already started building my collection of Tiger’s gear.”
So, let’s all give Channell Segura a warm Sierra County welcome, and help her build a huge collection of red white and blue Tiger’s gear.