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APS: Search to use forums, surveys

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

After the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools announced she would be retiring next year, the ball is rolling on the process to pick Raquel Reedy’s successor.

David Peercy, Board of Education president who says he has three superintendent searches under his belt, said APS’ executive director of board services will put a draft proposal together that outlines a time frame and community input events, which will be presented to the board at a future meeting.

“We certainly will have forums for the community. We will get a lot of input from our stakeholders in terms of the kind of characteristics of a superintendent we would like to have,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday at APS’ main offices.

Peercy expects the board to finalize that plan toward the end of the month, which he said will include public surveys and feedback from staff and teachers.

He added the idea is to have a superintendent on board by July 1.

Reedy is planning to retire after the current school year and at the end of her contract year on June 30.

In December, the board voted to extend Reedy’s contract a year to 2021.

Peercy said he did not yet know if the district would use a recruiting firm, adding the board will consider both internal candidates and a national search.

Ultimately, Peercy said, the board wants someone who will focus on academics and the city’s cultural diversity.

The search for Reedy’s replacement looks different from the previous superintendent hunt at APS.

Reedy took the reins – first on an interim basis and then officially in 2016 – from Luis Valentino, who resigned amid multiple scandals.

“I appreciate Raquel giving us this length of time. … We know it takes about six months if you’re doing a really good search and you have time to do that. In the previous ones, we haven’t had all that much time to do that,” Peercy said, adding that he thinks Reedy will help in the search process.

Reedy has been with APS since 1977 in various roles including teacher and principal.

She recently received the highest raise of her superintendent career pushing her $248,727.14 annual salary to $276,186.62.

Peercy said he estimates the next superintendent salary would be in that ballpark.

“We’re not going to get somebody for $200,000. So, it will be somewhere in that range,” he said. “The board will make that decision. You can imagine it is going to be somewhat in the range of where we are. Maybe it’s a little less than what Raquel’s making now because she’s had five years of experience.”

For Reedy, her raise was tied to whether teachers get a raise or not. Peercy said it was not tied to student outcomes but that’s not set in stone.

“I think it will depend a little bit on what we decide,” he said.

Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragón encouraged APS to adopt this strategy.

“I strongly urge the APS Board of Education to implement tangible metrics and pay incentives based on performance in the next superintendent’s contract, for which the current contract does not stipulate,” she wrote in a statement.

Reedy wasn’t present at Wednesday’s news conference.

Monica Armenta, spokeswoman for the district, said Reedy wasn’t able to come to the news conference on the district’s next steps after her retirement because she was working.

“She was up at 6; her calendar is full,” she said. “… She’s working.”

Peercy said he knew about her retirement for about a week and the other board members found out Tuesday night, a discussion that happened behind closed doors in executive session during an APS committee meeting.

“I think she just felt like this is kind of the time,” he said, adding she welcomed her first grandchild over the summer, too.

Armenta said Reedy’s retirement wasn’t a decision made overnight.

“What the superintendent shared with staff is that she was thinking about retirement for a while. She feels really a lot of gratification knowing … that in the five years that she’s been here that she was able to bring the district back to a place of stability and with a staff she feels will be able to build on,” Armenta said.

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