SANTA FE – The superintendent of a small southern New Mexico school system testified Thursday in favor of the state’s current teacher evaluation system, though he admitted he has defied its rules by renewing the license of at least one teacher who didn’t meet performance benchmarks.
On the stand in state District Court, Tom Burris, superintendent of the Roswell Independent School District, said he knew that New Mexico Public Education Department regulations do not allow the renewal of licenses for teachers rated minimally effective or ineffective, but he is dealing with a teacher shortage and needs all of his staff.
“The negative consequences are exactly what I’m battling – I don’t want the negative consequences,” he said under cross-examination from attorney Shane Youtz, who is representing the American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico in a legal battle against the teacher evaluation system.
“I am down teachers. I don’t need teachers, number 1, quitting over this and, number 2, I am not going to be firing teachers over this.”