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Posted: November 9, 2020

APS Superintendent Search to Restart

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education decided to restart the search that was paused in March due to the pandemic, opening it up to potential additional semi-finalists.

It was announced in a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 9, that the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education will continue its national search for a permanent superintendent but plans to open the search up to potential additional semi-finalists.

The Board initiated the search process in October 2019 after Superintendent Raquel Reedy announced her retirement effective June 30, 2020. However, the district was forced to pause the process in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and businesses. By that time, the Board had collected public input regarding the qualities and characteristics desired in the superintendent, and 39 individuals had applied once the job was posted in January 2020. Five semi-finalists were announced in March 2020, as listed below.

  • Vickie Bannerman, Principal of Albuquerque Public Schools Volcano Vista High School
  • Michelle Cavazos, Chief Officer for Academics and Social Emotional Learning for Austin Independent School District
  • Kimberly Finke, Principal of Albuquerque Public Schools Whittier Elementary School
  • James McIntyre, Assistant Professor & Director, Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee
  • Bolgen Vargas, Self-Employed Consultant and former Superintendent for Rochester City School District in New York

The five semi-finalists have been contacted for their continued interest, and all but Michelle Cavazos were still interested. Cavazos has already accepted a superintendent position at another district. 

Scott Elder, the district’s former Chief Operations Officer, signed a one-year contract in April 2020 to serve as Acting Superintendent, effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, or until a permanent superintendent could be selected. Elder did not initially apply for the position but indicated that he would be interested in being considered for the permanent position. He has been an effective interim superintendent during the pandemic, and the Board greatly appreciates his service. 

Board members voted 6 to 0 with one abstention by Board member Peggy Muller-Aragon to continue to complete the existing suspended search with the remaining four semi-finalists already selected, but open the search to potential additional semi-finalists that might be interested. 

The decision to resume the search where it left off, plus considering potential additional semi-finalists, was one of several options discussed.

The process moving forward will continue with the assistance of the HYA search firm, with approximately $4,000 additional contract cost, to request additional applications, determine if the Board wants to include any additional semi-finalists, and complete the original search plan with semi-finalist public forums and interviews with the Board of Education.

The permanent superintendent is expected to be selected in the March 2021 time period and start July 1, 2021.