New Position Focused on Testing
Suchint Sarangarm is goal oriented.
Has been ever since his father raised him up by the arms as a small child and proclaimed to the world that his only son would one day be a doctor.
“I knew from that moment it would be my goal,” said Sarangarm, who has a Ph.D. in experimental statistics/curriculum instruction and is the new HMS assistant superintendent for data and assessment.
In only his first few weeks on the job, Sarangarm continues to set goals. He and HMS Supt. TJ Parks outlined for school board members on Monday night an aggressive plan that the administrators said will boost school grades in the next few years and, most importantly, improve individual student learning.
The key is a methodical analysis of testing data to pinpoint shortcomings followed by curriculum adjustments to plug learning gaps.
It’s not exactly foreign territory for Sarangarm, who spent the past eight years analyzing numbers to boost learning while holding a similar position for Roswell schools.
Numbers simply make sense to Sarangarm – and have ever since he was a child growing up in a small village in Thailand. “Math makes people think logically and sequentially,” he explained. “If something is not logical and reasonable, it bugs me.”
Sarangarm’s power of logic is what landed him in Hobbs. But his approach to learning the three Rs is a stark contrast to that of the typical educator. “I’m not a data person,” Parks told school board members. “I’m a firm believer that you teach with the heart. But I think whenever you can incorporate both (aspects), you have the both of best worlds.”
Sarangarm agrees with a team approach to instruction, one that involves administrators, principals and teachers in a common goal to improve learning. The fact that Hobbs schools has professional development time built into its weekly school schedule is a plus – time which Sarangarm said will be used to explain the specifics of curriculum notebooks which each teacher will receive.
“We’ll transform the data into information and move with that information in how to improve the classroom and improve student achievement,” he said. “There’s a specific tie between assessment, data and instruction. I can see that tie.”
“Some people are going to say, ‘You are teaching to the test,’” Parks said, “but the test is so fluid that you’re not teaching to the test; you’re teaching to concepts.”
Although Sarangarm is new to Hobbs, he is a well-known in New Mexico education circles. Raised in a Thai community of about 300, Sarangarm followed the lead of his father – an elementary school teacher – into the field of education.
After earning his master’s degree in Bangkok, Sarangarm settled into the respectability and security of a government job as a college math professor and administrator.
But his father’s prediction never left Sarangarm, who gave up his homeland to move to Las Cruces, where he eventually earned that Ph.D. Not content, Sarangarm went on to specialized studies in computer-aided instruction for another two years.
That was two decades ago. Since then, Sarangarm has instructed at New Mexico State University, analyzed data for both Las Cruces and Roswell schools, served on numerous education task forces and written professional articles.
Married to an English as a Second Language professor, Sarangarm and his wife have also raised two daughters, one a medical doctor and the other a pharmacist, both of whom are University of New Mexico graduates
Sarangarm said he brings to Hobbs confidence in a system that has worked in other school districts and, to a degree, in his personal life.
“I’ve always been pretty clear in my goals,” he said. “The goal here is to improve. It will be a team approach but I can assure you, I’m a very hard worker. The bottom line is, the kids will learn more. I have a very strong belief on that one.”