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Bernalillo schools chief retires after 6 years in post

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Long-time Bernalillo Public Schools superintendent Allan Tapia has retired after 21 years with the district.

Tapia submitted his resignation on June 30, and it was formally accepted by the Board of Education on Thursday.

Outgoing Bernalillo schools Superintendent Allan Tapia, left, with former Bernalillo High School Principal and interim Superintendent Keith Cowan. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Former Bernalillo High principal Keith Cowan was named interim superintendent.

“We are happy for Mr. Tapia,” Vincent Montoya, board vice president, told the Journal. “He will be missed. He left the district in a good place to continue forward.”

During his tenure, Tapia supervised a number of significant construction projects, including a $35 million renovation of Bernalillo High School. The new facilities at 250 Isidro Sanchez Circle include a 43,000-square-foot career technical education building and cafeteria where students can learn auto mechanics, welding, cooking and other trades.

In addition, the district added a new K-8 school at Santo Domingo and a new gymnasium at Cochiti Elementary and Middle School.

Montoya said Tapia brought stability and consistency to the district during his six years as superintendent.

A New Mexico native, Tapia launched his career in 1991 as an Albuquerque Public Schools science teacher and athletic coach. In 1993, he returned to his alma mater, Moriarty High School, to teach high school biology.

Tapia switched to administration in 1996, serving as Bernalillo Middle School’s assistant principal, then receiving a promotion to principal two years later. In 2007, Tapia was named Principal of the Year by the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals.

He was hired as the district’s Executive Director of Secondary Education in 2007 and remained in the position until 2011.

Tapia said he is proud to have served the majority of his career in Bernalillo Public Schools.

The 51-year-old said he hasn’t ruled out returning to administration after a year. He plans to look into openings in other New Mexico districts.

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