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News from 2023-2024

Posted: December 20, 2023

Over 7,700 People Weigh in on Superintendent Search

APS Board will hold series of meetings in January to whittle down applicant pool and choose the district’s next leader.

Parents, employees, students, and other community stakeholders haven’t changed their minds on the characteristics they’d like to see in Albuquerque Public Schools’ next leader.

They want someone who puts the needs of students first. A person with a background in education who promotes safety and security in schools and across the district. Someone who encourages transparency at all levels of district leadership and who takes responsibility for decisions and actions.

Those were the top responses to the question in the online survey that asked community members about the five most important characteristics of the next superintendent. The search firm that produced the Superintendent Search Stakeholder Feedback Report for the current search notes that the top five responses to the question remained unchanged and in the same order as in the survey conducted during the superintendent search four years ago.

In all, more than 7,700 community members provided input on the superintendent search through the online survey, two community conversations facilitated by members of the APS Board of Education, and discussions with standing APS stakeholder groups facilitated by board members or representatives.

Dr. Walter Cooper, a facilitator with McPherson & Jacobson, the firm APS hired to help with the search, praised board members for their “commitment to community outreach and public engagement in general.”

“The time and effort and intentionality that you put into community engagement in this search, quite honestly, is more than I’ve ever seen in any work that I’ve done in this realm,” he said during Wednesday night’s board meeting.

Perhaps just as important as the qualities members of the community want to see in the next superintendent are qualities they don’t want to see. Those include an authoritarian leadership style, disrespect toward the workforce, not understanding community challenges, ego-driven, and lack of cultural responsiveness.

Twenty-four people have applied to be the district’s next superintendent. The applicant pool is made up of 15 out-of-state educators and nine from New Mexico. Three of them are current APS administrators – the district’s Chief of Schools, Chief Operations Officer, and the Principal of Highland High School.

The person selected will replace Superintendent Scott Elder, who will be leaving APS when his contract expires on June 30.

January will be a busy month for the Board of Education as it whittles down the applicant pool and chooses a new leader for the district:

  • The board is scheduled to meet in executive session on Jan. 10 to review superintendent applicants and choose semi-finalists. 
  • Then on Jan. 16, the board will again meet in executive session to interview semi-finalists and choose finalists.
  • The public will have an opportunity to meet those finalists on Jan. 30 during events at Berna Facio Professional Development Center.
  • The board will again meet in executive session on Jan. 31 to interview finalists and choose a new superintendent.

The person selected will take the district’s helm on July 1.