Chris Sarmiento | Courtesy LCPS

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Las Cruces Public Schools is mourning the loss of two more employees due to COVID-19. Chris Sarmiento, 33, a teacher and football coach at Vista Middle Schools, and 58-year-old Beatrice Ramirez, a nutrition services employee at Valley View Elementary.

The former principal at Vista, Mike Brewer, hired Sarmiento to teach sixth and seventh-grade social studies. Brewer said Sarmiento’s passion for teaching and being a role model was evident in his interview.  

“Chris was a good, all-around person who was 100% there for his students every day,” said Brewer in a news release. “As coworkers, we become connected very quickly, and this loss will be deeply felt in the Vista family.”   

Beatrice Ramirez | Courtesy LCPS

According to the same news release, Ramirez began her career with LCPS in 2002 as a cook at Doña Ana Elementary School and transferred to Columbia Elementary in 2003. She had been in the kitchen at Valley View for the past 13 years.  

“Miss Betty was an amazing coworker,” said Eloisa Solis in the same news release, the principal at Valley View. “When I first came to Valley View almost five years ago, Miss Betty came to my office to tell me how much she loved her job, and that it was the kids at Valley View who motivated her to get up and walk to work each day. She loved her kids, loved to cook for them, and was always there when our students needed to share something or needed guidance. She often called herself ‘just a cafeteria worker’ but I often reminded her that she was a chef to our kids. She took pride in her work knowing that she would be feeding them for the day.” 

Seven Las Cruces Public School employees have died from the virus since November of last year. The districts say none of them were working in school buildings at the time of their illness.

“Our students and colleagues have fond memories of every coworker we have lost to this virus,” said LCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Trujillo in a news release. “We were all very much looking forward to seeing them in the future and share in the grief our school communities are feeling right now.”