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Editorial: APS right to pick Winter

When you are entrusted with putting the largest school district in the state — heck, one of the largest in the nation — back on a steady course it makes sense to go with experience and with what you know.

In the case of Albuquerque Public Schools needing an interim superintendent, that known entity would be Brad Winter. The school board made the right choice Friday when it unanimously appointed Winter to the temporary post as it decides how to search for a permanent replacement for ex-superintendent Winston Brooks.

Brooks left under a $350,000 buyout – half what he would have made had he served out the two years left on his contract – based on an investigation paid for but not yet released by the board. Winter is likely to serve for up to a year and says he has no interest in seeking the job on a permanent basis.

If anyone knows APS and can embrace the work that needs to be done and leave the drama on the sidelines, it’s Winter, who over more than two decades with the district has worn every hat from teacher to assistant principal to administrator.

Board President Analee Maestas says “the board wanted to find someone who could smoothly guide the district through this time of transition, and we’re confident Dr. Winter is the best person for the job.”

The current city councilor and former APS chief operations officer has earned a reputation as a calm, civil problem solver who puts public accountability at the top of his list. Under his steady hand the district streamlined its capital program, ensuring it gets the best (not necessarily the initially cheapest) deal for taxpayers. It has built new schools, refurbished others and added a state-of-the-art sports complex.

Winter tweeted Friday “I’m very humbled and excited about this opportunity.” That low-key approach is quintessential Winter, who will use his experience to help ensure APS is in good shape not only for his successor, but for the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers who depend on it.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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