Albuquerque Public Schools will be searching for a new athletic director.
Kenny Barreras, who has held that position in the district since 2004, on Friday informed the 13 campus-site high school ADs in APS that he is stepping down from the position, the Journal learned.
Monday will be his final day, APS Chief Operations Officer Gabriella Blakey said.
Leslie Kilmer, a former district AD with Santa Fe Public Schools (December 2013-April 2015), is going to take over the job on an interim basis for the next few weeks, Blakey said, adding that APS hopes to post this job as a part of a national search.
“I hope to have somebody named in the next month or two,” Blakey said. Kilmer, she added, is not interested in the job full time and will merely serve as a bridge between Barreras and his successor.
“I have enjoyed the work for a long time and have especially enjoyed the many humble, selfless people I have worked with to give all APS student-athletes the opportunity to participate in a quality athletic experience,” Barreras said in a text message to the Journal on Friday night.
“It is clear that I am no longer the right person for this job and it’s time to find something else to do and some place else to do it. I look forward to that.”
The timing is unusual, insomuch as the 2021-22 school year only started a little over two months ago.
Kilmer declined comment, referring inquiries to Blakey.
“She is going to help out while I advertise the position to keep the day-to-day operations going,” Blakey said. “I do want to move quickly, but I also want to give it the right time (to search). Kenny has been the AD for 20 years, so replacing him isn’t something we can do overnight.”
Kilmer has been working with Barreras in the last few days to smooth the transition process, Blakey confirmed.
The APS athletic department has been severely short-staffed, especially with the departures in recent weeks of two longtime lieutenants under Barreras, Julie Sanchez and Ed Drangmeister.
Former associate AD Sanchez took another job inside APS. Drangmeister moved to Indianapolis after his wife, former New Mexico Activities Association Commissioner of Officials Dana Pappas, left the NMAA to take a job as Director of Officiating Services for the National Federation of State High School Associations, or NFHS. Drangmeister was an athletic coordinator in APS.
Blakey said she wants the new permanent AD to “be able to hire” those positions. “Whatever the new director needs to fulfill what their goals will be, I want to make sure they’ll have the ability to reorganize, or see who they will need in those positions.”
APS’ 13 high schools have winter schedules in place, but the campus ADs are doing the scheduling for spring sports such as baseball, softball and tennis.
This is the first time, it is believed, that the campus ADs are handling their own scheduling on this scale, in any season.