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NMAA Chooses Marquez

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — She Is First Woman To Head N.M. Activities Association

The New Mexico Activities Association stayed close to home, so to speak.

Really close.

After eight years on staff, Sally Marquez on Wednesday was confirmed as the NMAA’s new executive director in a unanimous vote of NMAA board members.

Marquez, 50, succeeds Gary Tripp, who resigned in August to become a principal on the Zia Pueblo.

Board president Janel Ryan, the superintendent of Farmington Municipal Schools, said it was a 260-day contract, with an annual salary of $125,000, that runs through June 2014.

“I’m honored, very honored, to serve the students of New Mexico. It’s a lifelong dream,” Marquez said.

Marquez is the first woman to serve as the NMAA’s executive director. She is one of only three women nationwide who hold such a post.

Marquez was the assistant executive director under Tripp when Tripp – who had been the executive director since 2004 – abruptly resigned a few weeks ago. She was promoted to that position in July of last year.

The board assigned Tripp’s day-to-day duties to three NMAA staffers on an interim basis until a full-time replacement was named: Marquez, along with deputy director Bill Cleland (hired in September 2007) and commissioner of officials Dana Sanchez.

Sanchez has the most seniority on the staff, joining in 1997. She has been the commissioner of officials for the past nine years.

Marquez was one of 21 people who applied for the vacancy, and one of four finalists.

The finalists were interviewed Tuesday by the search committee.

The other finalists were:

♦ Albuquerque Public Schools athletic director Kenny Barreras;

♦ Manuel Calderon, principal at Desiderata Alternative Program in Phoenix;

♦ Gary Salazar, the recently retired superintendent of San Jon Municipal School District.

Although the NMAA lost four staffers since the end of the 2011-12 school year – Tripp, associate director Robert Zayas, assistant director Randy Adrian and Kristin Derr who oversaw the state spirit competition – the board of directors implemented a hiring freeze until the new executive director was chosen.

Now that Marquez is in place, the hiring freeze is lifted. Marquez said one of her priorities is to fill two of the staff vacancies – including her previous job.

And while that is one pressing need, another is to make sure the fall sports state championships – which begin in five weeks – are ready to go.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal