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Interim superintendent takes over at APS

Scott Elder

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools officially has a new acting superintendent.

Scott Elder, former chief operations officer, took the reins from Raquel Reedy after she retired Tuesday.

The shift brings some shake-ups to other leadership positions, too.

Elder is no stranger to APS, having been a teacher and principal during his decadeslong career in education.

As acting superintendent, his contract shows, his salary will be $225,000 a year and his term will run from Wednesday, July 1, to June 30, 2021, or when a permanent superintendent is hired.

The Board of Education appointed Elder after halting a search for Reedy’s replacement earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the virus continues to spread through the state, Elder is stepping into the role amid great change. For instance, schools will begin the 2020-21 year with a combination of in-person and online learning, which will be a feat logistically and financially.

In anticipation of budget cuts, the district said, the acting superintendent has adjusted the leadership team, which will save $250,000 a year.

The changes include:

• Yvonne Garcia, who was associate superintendent for Zone 3, has been named chief of schools, a new position that will “advise and assist the superintendent on educational initiatives across departments and zones,” according to APS.

• Principal support specialist Amanda DeBell will be the interim associate superintendent for Zone 3.

• Gabriella Blakey, former associate superintendent for Zone 1, will fill in for Elder as interim chief operations officer.

• Gene Saavedra will go from principal support specialist to interim associate superintendent for Zone 1.

District spokeswoman Johanna King said in an email that these positions are temporary for now and are dependent on what the Board of Education does in the future.

APS won’t fill vacant principal support specialist positions that resulted from the shifts, along with another specialist vacancy, resulting in the administrative savings.

Elder wrote in a statement that flexibility is key during this time.

“No two students are alike, so no two years or days or even classes are alike. Sure, we have our plans and routines, but we also have to know how to turn on a dime,” Elder wrote. “I can’t tell you how many times as a teacher I had to scrap a lesson, change my approach, adapt to accommodate my students.”

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