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District’s search for new superintendent underway

Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools’ new superintendent should be a good communicator who can develop partnerships and maintain a relationship with the state despite key policy differences, according to several people who spoke at community forums this week.

APS has that already in interim Superintendent Brad Winter, board member Marty Esquivel said, and the school board should consider asking him to stay another year and postpone the hiring of a permanent superintendent until spring 2016. The board has started a search process in order to hire a new superintendent in March.

“I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get him to stay a little longer and push this out a little bit,” Esquivel said.

Winter stabilized the district after former Superintendent Winston Brooks’ departure, Esquivel said. The school board bought out the remaining two years on Brooks’ contract for $350,000 in August after he agreed to resign. Board members have been mum on the reasons behind his departure.

Esquivel said it might make sense to extend Winter’s interim period for a year and let the new board settle in before hiring a superintendent. Esquivel will not be on the board in the spring, as he is not seeking re-election in the February board election.

Before the board would decide on whether to keep Winter, the decision would be up to him, board member David Peercy said Tuesday. Winter had retired as the district’s chief operations officer last spring before being hired as interim superintendent in August.

“When I applied, I told (the board) I was just going to be the interim and not apply for the job. And I still believe that’s important,” Winter said. Winter said he is not interested in a prolonged interim role, but is willing to stay on after a superintendent is hired to help the transition.

The district held forums this week asking people for input on what they want in a new superintendent.

Juan Larrañaga, a father of four APS students, said he wants the community to have more direct access to the superintendent, who he said should be a strong communicator. The new superintendent should consider establishing a citizens council, Larrañaga said.

APS teachers are looking for a superintendent who recognizes they are overburdened with mandates, said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

“We encourage the APS School Board to hire a superintendent who believes in and is highly experienced at student-centered reforms,” Terri Cole, president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement to the Journal.

A new superintendent should have teaching experience, Wilson Middle School Principal Ann Piper said Monday, according to a district news release describing the forum.

“The next superintendent should be able to relate to what goes on in a classroom and experience as a teacher would provide this ability,” Piper said.