Sen. Leo Jaramillo judges at the Spirit State Championship in Albuquerque Saturday. Courtesy photo
Leo Jaramillo during his days as a University of New Mexico cheerleader. Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Sen. Leo Jaramillo was a judge May 14-15 at the Spirit State Championship in the Dreamstyle Arena (the Pit) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Jaramillo is a 1995 Española Valley High School state cheer co-ed champion, a former UNM cheerleader and literally a legend in cheer and dance.
“I love giving back to the sport by serving as a judge because the sport and my coaches helped mold me into the leader I am today,” he told the Los Alamos Reporter Saturday evening.
Jaramillo congratulated the student athletes and coaches for their hard work and well-choreographed performances. He said he was proud to see EVHS and McCurdy Charter School participating in the state competition.
Jaramillo began coaching cheer and dance during college with a two-year stint as the Menaul High School coach in Albuquerque. He then went on to join Cheer Force as a specialty coach and choreographed for high schools across the state. He also coached for Pius X High School in Albuquerque where he led the school to two state championships.
Jaramillo became the head coach for EVHS in 2003 and used to choreograph joint performances for the EVHS and Los Alamos High School teams. He said the joint performances helped calm rivalry tensions during basketball games when the two teams performed as sister schools. His work with coaching the two schools was key in Jaramillo being named New Mexico Athletics Association Coach of the Year in 2011 after being nominated by LAHS.
“The LAHS cheer coach became one of my dearest friends and was my assistant coach at Northern New Mexico College. That fabulous woman is Sher Robinson,” Jaramillo said.
Robinson is the mother of Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair James Robinson and Los Alamos Police Det. Joseph Robinson.
In 2010, the NMAA promoted spirit from an activity to a competitive sport and brought Jaramillo on board as a technical judge. He was awarded Official of the Year for the National Federation of State High Schools Competitive Spirit Squads.
In 2013, Jaramillo literally became a Legend in Cheer and Dance when he was recognized by NMAA for his accomplishments as a cheerleader, coach, choreographer and judge.
In 2014, he became head cheer and dance coach for Northern New Mexico College’s new spirit program.
Jaramillo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from UNM. He later obtained a Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum Design and Instructional Leadership from the College of Santa Fe before going on to work as a news writer/producer for KRQE News in Albuquerque. He has been employed by Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2003 where he currently serves as a chief of staff/administrative officer responsible for staff development, human resources and strategic planning. He was elected to represent Senate District 5 in November 2020.
Coach Leo Jaramillo with a team from Northern New Mexico College. Courtesy photo
Leo Jaramillo served as a specialty coach for the University of Wyoming and has judged cheer competitions around the country. Courtesy photo