Judy Stewart

Artesia High School | Guidance Counselor
Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, NMSU
Master’s Degree in Elementary and Secondary Guidance and Counseling, WNMU

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and your role in education.
I started my career in Lake Arthur teaching third and first grade. From there I came to Artesia High School as counselor in 1984 where I worked in high school counseling and elementary counseling. In addition, I taught fourth grade before going back to the high school again as a counselor.

What made you want to enter the field of education?
I always knew I wanted teach from the time I was little. My mom used to tell others that I always wanted to be the teacher when I was growing up. It’s just something I’ve always loved.

What led you to a career with the Artesia Public School District?
I grew up in Silver City and after college I did my student teaching in Carlsbad. I then got a call from Lake Arthur for a teaching position where I spent a couple of years. After that I found that Artesia had a position in counseling open and I applied for it because I knew I wanted to go into counseling eventually because it had always been a passion of mine.

What is special about the Artesia educational system?
When I first started here I appreciated how the veteran staff embraced the younger staff. They guided us but also made us feel a part. I was immediately impressed with their genuine care for their students as well. Mr. Nell (the superintendent at the time) had a presence about him that let you know you would be held accountable and would be expected to be a professional. I appreciated that. Today, one of the things that sets Artesia apart is the community’s dedication to the children of Artesia. Along the same lines, the support you get as an educator here, both within the system and within the community, is also unique.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Working with the kids! Counseling is unique in that we get to keep a class for three years as opposed to teachers that only get their students for a year. I enjoy watching their development from sophomore year to senior year; it’s rewarding seeing them grow and mature and learn how to handle life’s challenges.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors?
Because of what I’ve seen kids go through over the years, I always advise students to maintain a sense of unity. We never know what might happen and sometimes they become each other’s support network. They can be hundreds of miles away from each other but if there’s a situation that arises, they know they can always reach out to one another. I also try to teach them to be humble and not forget where they came from, and I stress the importance of giving back. Whether it’s a smile or an act of kindness, it’s important for students to know and understand that in the walk of life, the way we treat others has a great impact on our outcome in our own lives.

Do you have a motto or saying that you live by?
There are so many that I love, but this one on the sign above my desk is one of my favorites: “Do small things with great love.” by Mother Teresa

 

I would say is there is starting to be more and more of a sense of disconnect today. Technology can be awesome, but can also keep us from having a true relationship at home and with friends. People are yearning for that connection, so I would urge students to put that cell phone down, step away from the computer, and go back to having conversations at the dinner table, when you’re out with friends, when you’re visiting family, and so forth. It’s so important.