BHS AD, Rodney Wright, chosen as new principal

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He’s walking two feet above the ground.

Belen High School Athletics Director Rodney Wright has been walking on clouds since he was named principal for the 2013-14 school year. He begins his new position on July 1.

Rodney Wright New BHS principal

“What a great opportunity that we’re going to have and that I’ve been given,” Wright said.

He learned he was chosen after the May 7 Belen Board of Education meeting when Superintendent Ron Marquez shook his hand.

Marquez sent out an email to Belen Consolidated Schools employees the next day, announcing Wright’s new position.

“I believe Mr. Wright is the ‘right’ choice, no pun intended,” his letter states.

Being chosen principal is a nod of accomplishment to Wright and his two-year reign as the school’s athletics director.

Wright knows he’ll set the school’s expectations toward education and hopes his positive outlook trickles down.

“The one thing I hope to bring is a positive environment in which people feel good about being there, an environment in which, like in athletics, we have high expectations and great communication, to feel good about what we’re doing and that has to start at the top,” he said.

Students and staff performance is reflective upon the leadership behind them, Wright said.

“To me, I’d rather have our students’ stars shine bright. I’d rather have our staff’s stars shine bright,” he said. “My star doesn’t have to shine in that way.”

Although the upcoming year will bring challenges, Wright said he and his staff will address them as a team.

He began his career in education after receiving a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Eastern New Mexico University in 1993.

From there, Wright joined the Hobbs Municipal Schools, Artesia Public Schools and Mescalero Apache Schools as a social studies and physical education teacher and track and football coach.

He received his master’s degree in school administration from New Mexico State University while teaching in Mescalero.

The eight years in Mescalero “truly shaped” Wright as an individual and educator, he said. On a regular basis, he dealt with children who hadn’t eaten in the last 24 hours or who had watched their mothers beaten by drunk husbands and their brothers and sisters abused, he said.

“Sometimes it’s not about the learning that’s taking place. Sometimes its about comforting a kid or telling them, ‘You know what? Tomorrow the sun will rise and it’s going to be OK.’”

After leaving Mescalero, Wright was the first cut in a round of layoffs from Tularosa High School.

For four months, he attended interviews for positions for principal, assistant principal and teaching positions, but came in as the second choice.

He was hired at Legacy Christian Academy in Alamogordo before the athletics director position opened at BHS nine weeks later.

He applied after his wife of 23 years, Tara, continued to pursue the issue.

“I was tired of being told, ‘Thanks, but you’re our second guy.’ It wears on you even as positive as I am. You get tired of getting those letters,” he said.

He felt good about the interview with Belen Schools officials, but began to expect the rejection letter after not hearing from district officials a week later.

Upon talking to Marquez, after being encouraged to call district officials by his students, he was offered the position.

Wright credits his accomplishments to the support of his wife, saying “I would not do what I do without her.”

He lives in Belen with his wife and two sons, Chaz and Taylor.

Even though Wright has a change in his title, it doesn’t mean he won’t be seen spending family time at school games.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.