ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Raquel Reedy will stay on the job as head of the state’s largest school district through at least June 2019.
The APS Board of Education approved a one-year contract extension Friday morning in a 5-2 vote after a closed-door discussion of Reedy’s performance.
Board members Peggy Muller-Aragón and Analee Maestas both voted “no,” citing concerns about the school board’s changing makeup. An election is scheduled for Feb. 7, which could replace up to four board members.
Muller-Aragón and Maestas said they think those new board members should have been allowed to weigh in on Reedy’s contract negotiation.
“We are tying the hands of the future board,” Muller-Aragón said.
But the other board members argued that the contract could be changed if necessary.
Under the terms, Reedy will keep her $240,000 yearly salary.
The contract also includes a “no buyout” agreement meant to end a string of big-dollar payments for departing superintendents – Reedy’s two predecessors took deals worth a total of $430,000 after they were fired for poor performance.
Reedy agreed not to take any exit package and her salary would stop immediately after she received a written copy of the school board’s decision to terminate her.
In an interview, Reedy said she will keep her focus on the students and do her best to guide APS through a difficult budget climate.
“I am looking forward to continuing the work we are doing together corroboratively with students, parents and teachers,” she said. “The work is going to be hard, but together we can get on the right course.”
The tight budget is an immediate concern – APS could lose a total of $29 million for this fiscal year, about 4 percent of its total allocation.
Reedy said she is also working to develop a new five-year academic master plan that is meant to address perennial issues, such as low graduation rates and poor test scores.
“Schools are our priority from Day One, always have been and will continue to be,” she said.
A longtime APS administrator, Reedy took over as acting superintendent in August 2015 after her predecessor, Luis Valentino, was forced to step down amid revelations that his handpicked deputy was facing child sex assault charges in Colorado. A Denver jury later found former Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez not guilty.
Reedy earned praise for steadying the district and was named permanent superintendent in April 2016.
“I believe this is the right superintendent for us right now,” board President Dave Peercy said Friday. “She has done a fantastic job during the short time she has been superintendent, and I think the community and I think the staff are very much behind her.”
Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein endorsed Reedy this spring, lauding her knowledge, professionalism and listening skills.
A Harvard graduate, Reedy began her career in 1974 as a teacher of the visually impaired in Boston, focusing on Spanish-speaking children who were not receiving services. In 1977, she started at APS as a special education teacher at Atrisco Elementary.
After an eight-year stint as a personnel specialist in the APS Human Resources Department, Reedy served as principal at E.G. Ross and Mitchell elementary schools before being named associate superintendent for elementary education in 2007, overseeing 45 elementary schools.
Known as a low-key team player, Reedy never previously applied for the superintendent job.