Albuquerque Public Schools is searching for a new superintendent. The district held two meetings last week, one on Monday, November 13 and the other on Nov. 16. Community members were invited to attend and help define the qualities desired in the next district leader, who is expected to carry out the new “Emerging Better” plan to improve student outcomes.
APS Board member Danielle Gonzalez opened Monday’s meeting by expressing her excitement and gratitude for the community’s involvement. Gonzales spoke about the importance of the conversation the community had gathered to take part in. “As we launch into the superintendent search, we want to make sure that we find someone who’s going to hold very dear those goals and guardrails that have already been set out, those are important not just to us as a district but again from the community and what we want for our students.”
APS board member Barbara Peterson shared her connection to the community and the district’s commitment to transformation. She emphasized the need for aligning all aspects of the district, including the budget, resources, and superintendent’s role, to ensure that they are in harmony with the community’s values and vision.
There were bilingual interpreters and American Sign Language assistants in the room to help everyone in the room participate in the conversation.
The meeting highlighted APS’ commitment to a student-focused governance approach. At the end of August, APS announced it is embarking on a mission to improve student outcomes. Community feedback helped shape APS’ strategic plan, with a strong emphasis on what Gonzales called SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, and time-bound).
The four overarching goals of the APS strategic plan are:
- Raising third-grade language arts proficiency rates for students identified in the Yazzie Martinez decision and African American students by 10 points over the next five years.
- Improving 8th-grade math proficiency rates by 10 points in five years for students identified in the Yazzie Martinez decision and African American students.
- Increasing the percentage of high school students earning credit in two or more Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual credit courses or earning an industry certification or bilingual seal.
- Focusing on developing students’ perseverance, self-control, self-confidence, and social awareness to prepare them for life after graduation.
According to Gonzales, the goals were explicitly aligned with the district’s mission to provide a quality education and ensure equity for all students, particularly those identified in the Yazzie Martinez lawsuit, alongside African American students.
The meeting also touched upon the ongoing Superintendent search process. The job posting for the new Superintendent position is already available on the APS website and will remain open until December 12th. The board aims to start interviewing candidates in January, with plans to introduce the community to the finalists through a town hall meeting later that month.
Gonzalez encouraged community members to actively participate in the superintendent search by providing input on the desired characteristics and attributes they seek in the district’s next educational leader.
After discussing the direction APS is moving toward, the board of education had a task for attendees. Parents, teachers, and students alike were asked to list characteristics and qualities they did not want in the next Superintendent. After collecting those comments, the board asked the community to list the qualities they do want to see in the new superintendent.
The meeting was designed to help shape the search for a new educational leader, with board members walking around the room speaking with APS parents, teachers, and students about the importance of finding the right leader for the district.
APS continues to move forward with both the superintendent search and their “Emerging Better” plan. On December 12 the application process will close for the superintendent, and APS will select candidates to interview for the job on January 8.