A new face is greeting students at T-or-C Middle School (TCMS) when they get to school in the morning. Robert Ford moved into the front office at TCMS before the winter break and is settling in to the. Office and the job.
After 21 years in education, teaching for 11 years, and as an administrator for the other ten, Mr. Ford had retired in Aztec, where he and his wife of 35 years own a home. Their two children are grown and on their own, including a daughter, a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Retirement was as short lived for Ford, who continued to work for the students of his district as a substitute teacher.
Born on the other side of the world, in Casablanca, Morocco, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force, Ford’s family moved back to the U.S. when Ford was three and a half.
Mr. Ford career path started at San Juan College in Farmington, working toward degrees in both banking and history. He earned an associate degree in each before transferring to Lewis College where he completed a bachelor’s degree in history, then continuing on to get a Master’s in Education Administration through New Mexico State University.
A history teacher, Ford taught at schools in the Farmington-Aztec area. It was there he worked as an administrator as well, with most of his assignments being in middle schools.
In his year and a half of retirement, Ford not only kept his hand in through working as a substitute, he also followed the postings of open positions throughout New Mexico. When he saw the listing seeking a principal at TCMS, he decided to send in his resume and letter of application. One successful interview later, Ford was offered the position.
Starting in the position in the middle of the school year presented challenges, with a need to hit the ground running, but Ford feels comfortable with the task. “The staff here has been great,” he told us recently. “I’m getting to know all the teachers and other staff, who have all made the transition an easy one. “I know all the names,” he told us, “but I’m still putting faces with a few of them.”
Being experienced in the job, having served in several schools helped make the transition a smooth one. “Students, teachers, and parents are the same in many ways, from place to place. Working with them here has been great. The hardest part is learning the different policies and processes, but the people here, and at central, have been so helpful.”
Ford has had a chance to check out the community and is learning his way around. “The whole community, the parents and everyone have been welcoming and friendly. I was told coming in that the community would be this way, and so far, everything I’ve seen has borne that out. The kids are polite and considerate. It’s yes sir and yes ma’am, and very few disciplinary issues.”
Mr. Ford likes to take a hands-on approach with his students. “I talk with every student who comes across my path, whether in the office or throughout the school. I view my role as being a facilitator, to make sure teachers have what they need to be able to teach our kids, and with them, help our students to succeed. I asked each of the teachers and staff to give me three ideas on how to make things better.”
As for the students at TCMS, Ford present them with his own two rules to live by at the school. “Act how you know you’re supposed to act,” he tells them, and “do what you know you’re supposed to do.” So a warm, Sierra County welcome to Robert Ford, we all wish him a successful tenure at TCMS.