Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Public Schools acting Superintendent Raquel Reedy has signed a 10-month contract that addresses recent controversies at the district – including her predecessor’s buyout and another administrator’s lack of a background check.
The contract puts her annual salary at $200,000. Under the terms, Reedy will not receive a buyout if she is terminated or resigns.
The APS Board of Education approved the contract 5-1 late Wednesday, with Peggy Muller-Aragon dissenting and Barbara Petersen not present.
Any dismissal of Reedy by APS would follow the statutes laid out in the New Mexico School Personnel Act, which say that her salary would stop “as of the date, after a hearing, that a written copy of the decision of the local school board” regarding termination is served to her.
APS board President Don Duran said the board and Reedy both wanted to add the language under the “cancellation of contract” section.
“It is stating that we won’t pay for anything other than what the statute legally requires,” Duran said.
Reedy’s $200,000 salary is less than that of her predecessor, Luis Valentino, who was paid $240,000.
Her contract runs until June 30, or when a permanent superintendent is appointed by the board.
Reedy took on the position Aug. 31, when Valentino resigned.
Under the terms of his settlement, he received roughly $100,000 and a positive letter of reference from the board, generating public outcry.
Only three months into his tenure, Valentino had become embroiled in controversy, including the revelation that his handpicked deputy superintendent, Jason Martinez, was facing assault and child sex assault charges in Colorado. Martinez never completed a mandatory APS criminal background check.
Another feature of Reedy’s contract addresses this controversy.
The “required documentation” section includes an explicit statement that she must comply with all “background check requirements,” including fingerprinting and an FBI records search.
Duran said that Reedy voluntarily submitted to a background check the day of her appointment.
When she joined APS more than 30 years ago, background checks were not required, so she had never completed one, according to Duran.
“We put that in the contract so everyone would know that we did request that,” he said.
Duran said he does not know whether the buyout and fingerprinting stipulations will be part of the permanent superintendent’s contract.
“I can’t predict the future,” he said.
No schedule has been set for the superintendent search, but Duran said he thinks the district is in good hands with Reedy.
“The board is very pleased and very supportive, and we are moving forward,” he said.
On Wednesday evening, the board went into an executive session to consider the contract, emerging later for a public vote. The session was private because the board considered the contract discussion a personnel matter.
For her part, Reedy said she was happy to help the district at a difficult time.
“I love APS,” she said. “We were in crisis. And I felt, sincerely, that if the board felt that there was anything I could do to help APS through this, I was certainly willing to do that for them.”
The longtime APS administrator said the board first told her that she might become acting superintendent a few days before Valentino resigned. Then, on Sunday, she got a call from the board telling her she needed to attend the Monday morning meeting that concluded with the resignation announcement.
“That’s when I knew that they were very seriously considering this, but at the same time I knew that they were looking at other options,” she said.
A graduate of Harvard and the University of Texas, Reedy most recently served as APS’ associate superintendent for elementary education, with a salary of $130,000. She took that position in 2007.
Reedy first came to the district in 1976 as a special education teacher at Atrisco Elementary School, then progressed to a human resources position recruiting special education teachers. Next, she held principal jobs at E.G. Ross Elementary School, Mitchell Elementary School and Eldorado cluster schools.