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Superintendent's News

Posted: March 15, 2021

Scott Elder Named APS Superintendent

After leading the district as interim superintendent through months of a global pandemic, Elder was promoted to the permanent position by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education on Monday.

Longtime Albuquerque Public Schools educator Scott Elder, who has served as interim superintendent for the past nine months, was selected for the job on a permanent basis by the APS Board of Education Monday.

The Board chose Elder from a field of applicants following a national search that began nearly a year and a half ago when then-superintendent Raquel Reedy announced her retirement. APS was forced to pause the search last March when the pandemic closed schools and businesses. The search resumed in November and Elder was named one of four finalists. After one of the four withdrew, the Board interviewed three finalists last week: Elder, who has had a long career with APS as a teacher, principal and district administrator; Ignacio Ruiz, assistant superintendent for Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV; and Dr. Bolgen Vargas, a self-employed consultant and former superintendent of Rochester City School District in New York. The interviews were streamed live and posted on YouTube as were community forums in which the three finalists answered questions from the public.

The Board, which by law is charged with the employment of the superintendent, deliberated for about three hours behind closed doors Monday before voting 4-3 in public to give Elder the top job. His contract still needs to be negotiated. As interim superintendent, Elder makes $225,000 a year.

Elder will join board members for a virtual news conference on Monday, March 15, at 3 p.m. The news conference will be live-streamed on YouTube.

Elder was the APS Chief Operations Officer when New Mexico closed its public schools in March 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Working alongside Reedy for several months before taking the reins this summer, Elder helped the district transition from in-person to remote learning. He and his team made sure students had the technical equipment and internet support they needed to learn at home, assured that they were fed, put in school safety measures in anticipation of their return, worked with community partners to provide services to families, ushered in virus testing protocols and then vaccination opportunities for staff, and developed learning models that would allow some and then all students to head back to the classroom.

Elder is leading preparations for re-opening schools for all students on April 5 as dictated by the New Mexico Public Education Department.

In addition to navigating APS through the pandemic, Elder has committed to making APS classrooms culturally and linguistically responsive. Under his guidance, the district rolled out a new equity plan that outlines a dozen steps to achieving racial and education equity and reducing barriers for students and parents. This includes more culturally responsive instruction, improved hiring practices, better resource allocation and access, improved school climates, and anti-racism training for staff. 

Elder has worked with a shrinking budget, finding the balance between being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and making sure funding is intact for instruction, health and safety measures.

The native New Mexican’s ties to Albuquerque are invaluable as he serves as a pillar of the community. Elder’s family has a long history with APS: his mother worked for the district for 20 years, his grandfather was a school board member off and on from 1945 through 1969, and his understanding is that his great-grandfather was also a board member, starting in 1892.

Elder is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish, and master’s degrees in secondary education and business administration. He is married to a longtime educator and has two sons, both graduates of Sandia High School. 

APS Board Statement 

Read by Board President Dr. David Peercy shortly after the vote to naming Scott Elder as APS Superintendent 

"The Board of Education had a thorough discussion of all three superintendent finalist candidates. There were positive characteristics and questions about all candidates. The board also reviewed and considered in detail all the community input through the community forums, desired candidate characteristics, and community comments. We understand that community members have provided passionate support for each of the three candidates, and hope we can all come together and support our board decision as we enter a critical and challenging period of return to full in-school instruction.

The board decision was that Mr. Elder would be the best candidate at this time for the APS Superintendent based on his educational background and current understanding of our district challenges. The board looks forward to working with Mr. Elder on ensuring a vision for APS that supports our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We greatly appreciate and value the candidacy of Mr. Ruiz and Dr. Vargas and wish them well in their future endeavors.

We look forward to an exciting and productive future for APS."