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News from 2023-2024

Posted: February 5, 2024

APS Board Selects Dr. Gabriella Duran Blakey as Next Superintendent

Appointment follows nationwide search.

Dr. Gabriella Blakey

Dr. Gabriella Blakey

Dr. Gabriella Durán Blakey, a native of Albuquerque who has spent her career working to improve outcomes for students, will be the next superintendent of New Mexico’s largest school district. 

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education selected Blakey for the position Monday on a unanimous vote. The appointment follows a nationwide search that yielded two dozen applicants.

Blakey signed a two-year contract and will earn a $295,000 salary. She officially takes over as superintendent on July 1.

“We had many great candidates interested in leading APS, but Dr. Blakey rose to the top,” said APS Board President Danielle Gonzales. “Her familiarity with APS, track record of improving student outcomes, and the fact that she helped create our Emerging Stronger strategic plan – the road map that is going to help us reach our academic goals – made her the ideal pick. The board is excited to work with her to take APS to the next level.”  

Blakey, 48, is currently the district’s Chief Operations Officer, overseeing everything from transportation and school meals to APS Police and more than 16 million square feet of facilities. 

She was one of two finalists being considered for the position. 

Blakey – who attended Sandia Base Elementary, Van Buren Middle School, and graduated from Highland High – said she is devoted to Albuquerque students and to the community.

“I’m committed to listening, and I’m committed to delivering results to make sure that we achieve the goals that our community has very publicly outlined for us and for the school board,” she said. “I know that it’s our responsibility to make sure that we work as a community to better our student outcomes and achieve the goals.”

Altogether, she’s served APS for more than 20 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and associate superintendent. As an associate superintendent, Blakey:

  • Created a school transformation model for three schools designated as failing, resulting in increased student performance outcomes.
  • Developed a school data scorecard, leading to increases in key performance indicators at every school in her learning zone and resulting in increased student performance on the state assessment of up to 30%.
  • Implemented, trained, and led Instructional Rounds as a model of professional development for 143 principals, resulting in a double-digit increase in student performance on the state assessment.

As superintendent, Blakey will lead the district in its ambitious new strategic plan to improve academic outcomes for 68,000 students. She will also oversee the daily operations of more than 140 schools, lead 12,000 employees, and collaborate with students, educators, support staff, parents, families, elected officials, community members, and union partners, to create opportunities for all students.

Blakey, who began her career as a high school social studies and English language learner teacher, will be stepping into the position currently held by Superintendent Scott Elder, who is leaving APS when his contract expires on June 30.

She earned her doctorate of education and Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of New Mexico and holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from New Mexico State University.

Dr. Blakey is an accomplished violinist who plays for the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque and is a member of the boards of Explora Children’s Science Museum, United Way of Central New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program. Her husband, Paul Blakey, is also an educator and a professional musician.

Last week, she and finalist Thomas Ahart took part in a series of community forums where they discussed their plans for APS and answered pre-submitted questions. Nearly 500 people attended those forums, which were also live-streamed on the Board’s YouTube channel. The YouTube videos of the forums have more than 3,300 views.

More than 450 people provided written comments on the finalists during the forums, which were shared with board members. Following 90-minute closed-door interviews with each candidate on Wednesday, the board deliberated for more than seven hours, taking into account the public feedback. 

The superintendent search process also included feedback from more than 7,000 survey participants, more than 20 outreach sessions, and several interviews with the board. Twenty-four people applied for the position.

Watch the news conference introducing Dr. Blakey as the next APS superintendent.