Pargas brings experience to new role as Central principal
This year, Tami Pargas will begin her 31st year in education, most of which have been spent in the Belen Consolidated Schools.
The new Central Elementary principal taught for 10 years for Albuquerque Public Schools, eight years as an English teacher at Belen Middle School, two years at Raymond Gabaldon Elementary in Los Lunas, five years as Belen High School principal, four years as the principal for Hot Springs High principal in Truth or Consequences and one year as principal at a small Christian school in Albuquerque.
While she was raised in Albuquerque, Pargas considers Belen her home.
“I raised two sons here and both are Belen High graduates,” Pargas said. “I bleed maroon.”
Having been both an elementary and high school administrator, Pargas said the main difference is the level of the curriculum.
“In elementary school, everything builds on everything else. Once you get to high school, graduation is the goal,” she said. “But really, kids are kids.”
As principal, Pargas said her leadership style is simple — she expects everyone to do their job the best they can.
“We have excellent teachers in this district. I would say the best are at Central,” she says laughing. “I’m fairly easy going. We have teachers here with a lot of experience and I have my experience. We are all happy to share that experience.”
When dealing with students, Pargas said they have to know they belong, that they are valued.
“As a person, you can like or not like someone. But with students you have to always let them know you like them,” she said. “And you have to get to know them. The first time they meet you can’t be when they’re having an issue.”
Respect is earned, Pargas says.
“You can’t just be a title, just ‘the principal,’” she said.
Pargas said she plans to have a close working relationship with HT Jaramillo Community School principal Katherine Trujillo, since Jaramillo and Central are sister schools. HT is kindergarten through third grade and its students feed into Central’s fourth through sixth grades.
And Pargas reminds parents that Central is one of the few schools in the district that does have a uniform policy, and she’s not planning any changes to that policy for this year.
“I want to review it and take input from people before I think about making changes,” she said.