Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Academy Head Makes Contribution to Textbook

By Catherine Barnitz
Special to the RIo Rancho Observer

Published on Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:13 AM MDT

A Rio Rancho resident’s contribution to the first New Mexico history textbook for the high school level will be honored by Governor Bill Richardson and Public Education Secretary Veronica Garcia by adding the book to the adoption list for New Mexico History at the secondary education level. The textbook will be available to New Mexico Secondary schools this fall.

Karen Dziurzynski Lucero Cox, history teacher and head of the Health and Social Sciences Academy at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School in Albuquerque, co-authored the book’s chapter on the Atrisco Land Grant with Barbara Armijo, a journalist for the New Mexico Independent.

“Here I was teaching New Mexico history and I was asked to write a chapter for this book on something that is very important to me,” Cox said. “Now it’s going to be honored, how great!”

The book, “Nuevo Mexico Anthology,” was published by Semos Unlimited, a nonprofit organization headed by Georgia Roybal and former Lieutenant Governor Roberto Mondragón.

“We are thrilled to have our labor of love, this textbook, in print,” Roybal said.

The Atrisco Land Grant is a large tract of land in the Albuquerque area that was settled by the Spanish in the late 1500s. Since then, parts of the property have been sold and some has been taken through nefarious means. But, a bit of the original grant has been kept by descendants of the original settlers. Recently, a corporation, which has acquired the property agreed to contribute significantly to the Atrisco Heritage Foundation. The foundation, among other things, funds scholarships to people who can prove they are Atrisco heirs.

Cox believes she is an Atrisco heir; though she’s been unable to locate the paperwork, Cox says she is a Lucero de Godoy descendant.

Cox was also the 2008 winner of the Congressional James Madison Memorial Fellowship. The fellowship is worth $24,000 to be used toward the study of American History and Government. It’s awarded to a promising teacher in order to allow them further study in the subjects. She attended Ashland University’s summer master’s program at the Ashbrok Center in Ohio.

She recently attended “Freedom of Speech in the Information Age,” a lecture series and collaboration where participants create secondary education classroom lessons focusing on the subject.

Cox received her B.A. from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., and her first M.A. from The University of New Mexico. She is married and her two children attend Rio Rancho Public Schools. Cox also teaches flamenco at Corrales Dance in her free time.

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