More than 70 New Mexico National Guard members step in as substitute teachers

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called on state workers and the Guard to alleviate shortages and keep schools open.
By: | February 3, 2022

Lee Allingham, 32 and a member of the National Guard, was so upset by the notion of kids staying home from school because of the teacher and substitute shortage gripping his home state of New Mexico that he knew he had to help.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave him just that chance on Jan. 19 when she called upon both state workers and the Guard to alleviate personnel shortages on school campuses and inside child care facilities. More than 150 volunteers applied to participate and 94 substitute teacher licenses have been issued. On Feb. 1, 73 Guard members were serving in New Mexico classrooms.

Volunteers began their service the week of Jan. 23 in more than 20 school districts across the state, according to the governor’s office: Grisham is so devoted to the cause that she worked as a substitute for a group of kindergarteners at Salazar Elementary in Santa Fe in late January.

New Mexico was the only state to request Guard education support as of Feb. 1, according to a spokesperson for the organization who added the mission is currently funded until Feb. 18. Guard members have been called upon to drive school buses in at least 11 states, but not to teach. Uniformed police filled open classroom slots in Oklahoma.

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