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Forums, interviews wrap up with APS superintendent finalists

Bolgen Vargas, a self-employed consultant and former superintendent of Rochester City School District in New York, was named an Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent finalist. He addressed the community and the Board of Education on Thursday night.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the final online meet-up for Albuquerque Public Schools’ superintendent search, Bolgen Vargas, a self-employed consultant and former superintendent of Rochester City School District in New York, told the community his story.

“My trajectory that led me to qualify to serve as your superintendent is a very unique one,” he said.

He said he was born in the Dominican Republic and started working on a farm when he was six years old. His parents didn’t know how to read or write, Vargas said.

But his life changed when he moved to New York, went to high school and eventually went on to college.

Vargas’ application for the APS leadership position shows experience as a school counselor, superintendent and school board member.

“I want to thank the entire community of Albuquerque for the opportunity to allow me to express my interest to serve you as your next superintendent,” Vargas said.

When asked about equity and supporting students from diverse backgrounds, Vargas said he would examine the district to ensure equity is part of the work that’s being done and to build on efforts in place.

“For example, if the board or the administration in recent years, if they haven’t done (an) equity audit, I would work with the board and the community to do that,” he said.

To foster a diverse administrative team, Vargas said he’d approach that through retention, recruitment and developing internal staff.

He added that representation needs to occur throughout all levels at the district, not just at the top.

“You have to create a culture that is supportive for diversity,” he said.

“Analyzing the culture and organization is necessary,” he added.

Malik Evans, city council member in Rochester and former school board president there, told the Journal that he was responsible for recruiting Vargas to lead the Rochester school district.

Evans described Vargas as a collaborative leader, passionate and intelligent.

“The man is battle tested,” Evans said.

The APS Board of Education is slated to announce their superintendent choice on Friday, which would wrap up a lengthy hunt.

Vargas is one of three finalists vying for the job, along with Ignacio Ruiz, assistant superintendent for the Clark County School District in Nevada, and APS Interim Superintendent Scott Elder.

Ruiz and Elder went before the community and the board earlier in the week.

Recordings of the three finalists’ forums and interviews will be posted on APS.edu.

The school board has been garnering community feedback on the candidates through online forms.

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