SANTA FE, N.M. — Veronica García will remain at the helm of Santa Fe Public Schools for two more years after the school board on Tuesday unanimously voted to drop her “interim” tag and keep her as superintendent through the 2017-2018 school year.
García, 65, was hired on an interim basis in July after Joel Boyd resigned four years into the district’s five-year plan to take a job in the private sector.
Several school board members said it was important that the word “interim” be removed from the beginning of her title and that making her the permanent superintendent was “the right thing to do.”
“We need a strong leader who can give some stability for the next two years,” said Susan Duncan, the school board president.
Board members said García, who previously served as superintendent in Santa Fe from 1999 to 2002 before being selected by then-Gov. Bill Richardson as the state’s first secretary of education, hasn’t missed a beat since she’s been back. They said she’s done an outstanding job the past several weeks and that her experience is an asset as the district addresses budget matters and prepares for a bond election next year.
Board member Maureen Cashmon said people she’s talked to have told her García has “brought back humanity” to Santa Fe schools.
“I am honored, humbled and thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as superintendent for such an innovative and progressive school district,” García said after the vote.
She will continue to earn a salary of $180,000 per year, the same as her predecessor.
García signed an interim contract specifying that she would serve in the position until at least Feb. 15 and no later than June 30.
That’s because the school board was undecided about whether it would hire a superintendent before school board elections in March or wait until afterward and let the new board make the hire.
Two board positions will be up for grabs in March, and board member Linda Trujillo has said she may consider stepping down if she finds her duties as a freshman member of the state House of Representatives too burdensome.