History of New Mexico Association of Classroom Teachers


In 1937 at the Convention of the New Mexico Education Association, the members of two classroom teachers association, the only ones in New Mexico, decided it was time for the teachers of the state to organize. The Albuquerque Classroom Teachers Association had been organized in 1934 and the Carlsbad Teachers Association in 1935. Mrs. Florence Swayne, first president of the ACTA, and several other teachers worked diligently for the cause of the classroom teacher. In Carlsbad, Miss Constance Chapman was instrumental in much of the work of organization. At this convention, held in Roswell, the association became a reality and Mrs. Estelle Pope Hayes was elected president. She appointed Miss Chapman as her secretary. They held office for three years as there was much difficulty in keeping things going. The dues were ten cents per member.

Mr. Wilbur W. Raisner in giving a Report of the Southwest Regional Director in the Official Report 1939-40 of the National Department of Classroom Teachers said:

“The department of classroom teachers in New Mexico is young, but active and the president, Mrs. Hayes, is doing an excellent piece of work. She is working with leaders in the towns and counties in getting groups organized. The New Mexico Educational Association carries on its work through sectional organizations and each one holds an annual meeting. The teachers attend in large numbers. The state association and the department of classroom teachers also hold an annual meeting. Last fall the meetings were held in Albuquerque and Mrs. Dahl was on both programs. Those present spoke highly of her message and were pleased that they had the opportunity of showing her through the famous Carlsbad Caverns. They are hoping that Miss Smith can be with them next fall for the meeting in Santa Fe. The director attended meetings at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Roswell.”

(Mrs. Dahl was past president of the NEA Department of Classroom Teachers and Miss Elphe Smith was president.)

In addition to efforts to organize local associations, much earnest study of legislative action was done and some committees were formed. Although no new locals were formed, the groundwork was laid and organization was accomplished at a future date.