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Posted July 30, 2014

Office of Innovation Gets New Leader

Deborah Elder will take over the office charged with providing more choices.

Albuquerque Public Schools announced this week that Deborah Elder will head the Office of Innovation established recently to develop new programs and schools of choice within the district. Elder has spent the past seven years as principal at Zuni Elementary, a nationally recognized APS magnet school for technology and communication.

“Who better to spearhead our efforts to offer more choices for students and families than a long-time magnet school principal who understands that education is no longer one size fits all,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. “Debbie has done a fantastic job at Zuni, and I’m confident her experience and knowledge will help the district better meet the needs of all of our students.”

One of Elder’s first assignments will be to oversee efforts to expand choices for middle school students to include a couple of magnet STEM schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and a dual language school.

In addition to designing, developing and implementing new programs and schools of choice, Elder will oversee the APS Charter Schools Office, which supports 20 district-authorized charter schools in Albuquerque.

As principal at Zuni, Elder helped shape the school into a technology and communication magnet. Magnets are schools of choice with a focused mission that serve both students from the neighborhood as well as those who choose to attend because they’re attracted to the focus area.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead the charge to develop and provide a robust variety of innovative experiences for the students of the Albuquerque Public Schools,” Elder said. “I'm committed to support communities, teachers, and school leaders in working together to make dreams of innovation come true in our schools, resulting in deepening the learning experience for students.”

Before becoming Zuni’s principal, Elder was an assistant principal at E.G. Ross Elementary and a teacher at Carlos Rey Elementary. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, where she earned a master’s degree in elementary education.

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