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Española school superintendent kept on leave; interim named

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The Española school board on Thursday kept its superintendent on administrative leave, hired an acting superintendent and lost a board member in the process.

Superintendent Fred Trujillo will remain on paid leave while school district attorneys investigate his past actions while he was head of Pecos Independent Schools.

Trujillo was first placed on leave in May after a federal lawsuit was filed alleging that he took no action when Pecos schools staff members reported multiple incidents of male staff members preying on students. In recent years, three adult men with affiliations to the Pecos High School boys basketball team have been charged with raping female students. One was convicted, one had his case dismissed pending further investigation, and one is awaiting trial.

Trujillo served as superintendent in Pecos for nine years.

The Española School Board hired Trujillo in February 2020 as allegations of sexual assault and rape at Pecos schools continued to surface. His initial contract was for two years at $150,000 annually, but the board extended his contract before he was named in the lawsuit.

Trujillo did not respond to requests for comment.

The school board voted to appoint Vera Trujillo as acting superintendent, while the investigation of Fred Trujillo continues. Vera Trujillo has held multiple educational positions in Pojoaque, Santa Fe and Ohkay Owingeh.

“It was kind of a surprise to me” she told the Journal.

Meanwhile, board member Yolanda Salazar submitted her resignation from the board during Thursday’s executive session. It’s unclear what prompted her to resign, although Salazar was the only board member to vote against placing Fred Trujillo on leave. She could not be reached for comment.

Board member Ruben Archuleta, a longtime ally of Salazar’s, said that she didn’t give the board specific reasons for leaving and that her decision caught board members by surprise. Salazar had been elected to the board with Archuleta in 2016.

“It’s a little sad to see her go – she was my partner,” Archuleta said.


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