2011 LESN Recognition Award Winner

Picture of recipient of awardFrances Ramirez-Maestas is receiving the 2011 LESN Recognition Award in honor of her outstanding service to the legislative process through active involvement in the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee, the NCSL Education Committee, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN).

Frances was hired by the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) in August 1997, became deputy director in 2000 and then director in October 2008. Members of her LESC staff note her achievements as:

  • Enhancing the national profile of the LESC which, at every opportunity, she identifies as a unique legislative entity, being a permanent bicameral, bipartisan committee focused exclusively on education
  • Accommodating the personal needs of staff members while maintaining, if not enhancing, the quality of work performed
  • Consistently supporting public education by insisting that schools, school districts and the Public Education Department adhere to the requirements of law, by opposing unfair or unwarranted assaults, whether fiscal or programmatic, and by reminding all involved that whatever is done must benefit children first.

Paul Headlee, principal budget and policy analyst for the Idaho Legislative Services Office, nominated Frances for this award and wrote: 

As director of the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC), Frances has led her office in providing objective and relevant research and recommendations to legislators on education policy and fiscal issues. This has included school funding formulas, P-20 initiatives, school accountability, teacher quality, charter schools, reauthorization of federal education laws and numerous other topics aimed at meeting students needs and increasing achievement. Frances has participated in state and national policy research initiatives, including as a member of the  New Mexico leadership team of the College and Career Readiness Policy Institute. She is willing to share her expertise on educational issues — recent examples include presentations at the 31st  Annual School Law Conference (2010) held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the 2010 Charter School Conference. Frances is an active member of the LESN and often provides critical  information to its members through the listserv or by simply picking up the phone to help a fellow legislative colleague in a different state receive timely information during a legislative session.  In fact, after my first meeting with Frances at an LESN forum in Phoenix, she later provided me with in-depth information about public school employee health insurance benefits that I used to answer questions from education committees in my state. Additionally, she is a past staff chair of the NCSL Education Committee, a past member of the LESN Steering from 2007 through 2009 and worked on the LESN Steering Committee Strategic Plan.

The Legislative Education Staff Network is pleased to recognize Frances Ramírez-Maestas for excellence in service to the state of New Mexico and the Legislative Education Staff Network. LESN is honored to present Frances with the LESN Recognition Award on this the 25th anniversary of LESN.