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NMSU Extension’s NM EDGE delivers classes, graduation online

Public servants across New Mexico became distance learners as the New Mexico EDGE program moved its certified public manager program core classes online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Screen shot of zoom event
New Mexico EDGE summer graduates participated in an online graduation ceremony. Among the New Mexico Certified Public Official graduates were, top from left, Samantha Armijo, San Miguel County deputy clerk; and David Hyder, Valencia County Commissioner; and Lawrence Ortega, Santa Fe County senior appraiser. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

“We didn’t let the COVID-19 social distancing requirements prevent us from offering professional development classes,” said Mary DeLorenzo, program director for NM EDGE, which stands for Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the public sector.

“During the first five months of the pandemic, we maintained scheduled classes by conducting 400 hours of online training with public officials from counties, municipalities, and state agencies,” she said.

Nor did the pandemic restrictions prevent the program from honoring its most recent graduates, who join the 520 public officials who have completed approximately 835 individual certifications in a variety of designations.

“Annually during the New Mexico Counties summer conference, NM EDGE graduates receive their diplomas of certification,” DeLorenzo said. “This year because of the social distancing requirements, we honored the recent program graduates online with a program that allowed them to share how the course work has impacted their careers.”

Among the graduates were eight individuals who completed the certified public official designation, the first tier of the New Mexico Certified Public Management Program. They join 315 other public officials across the state who have earned this designation.

Other graduates completed work in public sector specialized certificates.

Eight individuals, including six from Luna County, earned the certified jail specialist designations. Four NMSU Extension agents obtained certified Extension professional designation.

Three became certified advocates for public ethics, while two are now certified treasury officials, one a certified county clerk, and one a certified public purchasing professional. Two individuals received diplomas in two certifications.

To obtain a certification designation, the students must complete a number of classes, along with a portfolio demonstrating their application of the competencies learned in the classes. For more information about the designations, visit https://nmedge.nmsu.edu./.

The nationally accredited NM EDGE is administered by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

“The pivoting of the NM EDGE core classes to online demonstrates our commitment at NMSU to be an engine for economic development, which takes many shapes, including the mission of NM EDGE to work towards better government through education,” said Jon Boren, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences associate dean and director of the Extension service.

Receiving diplomas were:
- Chaves County: Stephen M. Castro, road maintenance foreman, certificate advocate for public ethics; Stephanie Eldridge, bureau of election deputy, certified county clerk; and Elvira Lupien, detention office administrator, certified jail specialist.
- Eddy County: Rhonda Hatch, assessor’s office manager, certified public official.
- Grant County: Veronica Rodriguez, chief deputy treasurer, certified treasury official.
- Luna County: Detention personnel Derek Apodaca, Patty Armendariz, Richard Casillas, Javier Gallegos, Estefania Gomez, and Sean Reinheimer, all search the certified jail specialist designations.
- San Juan County: Carol Taulbee, chief deputy treasurer, certified treasury official.
- San Miguel County: Samantha M. Armijo, deputy clerk, certified public official; and Vidal Martinez, county manager; certified public official.
- Santa Fe County: Lawrence A. Ortega, senior appraiser, certified public official.
- Taos County: Andrew Montoya, sheriff lieutenant, certified public official.
- Torrance County: Joanna Romero, assistant finance director, certified public official.
- Valencia County: David Hyder, county commissioner, certified public official.
- Los Lunas Schools: Heather Rindels, purchasing agent, certified public purchasing professional.
- New Mexico Commission on Disability: Stan Ross, architectural access specialist, certified advocate for public ethics.
- New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service: Earning certified Extension professional designations were Bea Favela, Dona Ana County family consumer science agent; Dianne Christensen, Bernalillo County family consumer science agent; Nicole Jacobs, Bernalillo County 4-H agent; and Jerry Shockey, Eddy County 4-H agent.
- New Mexico Unemployment Office: Leona Vigil, customer service agent, certified public official