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New Mexico’s New Education Leadership Team

On May 8, Secretary Arsenio Romero announced his new leadership team at the Public Education Department. Seana Flanagan is the new PED Managing Director; Gregory Frostad is Assistant Secretary of Policy and Research; Amanda DeBell is Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Innovation; KatieAnn Juanico is Assistant Secretary of Indian Education; Candice Castillo is taking the role of Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity and Transformation.

Secretary Arsenio Romero announced a new leadership team at the Public Education Department on May 9, consisting of five educators, all of whom have served in some administrative capacity at different educational organizations, and two of whom were promoted internally.

“These education leaders embody our vision to boost student outcomes across the board,” Romero said.  “This is my personal dream team, and I am so honored that they are all up to the task. Our work is the future of the children of New Mexico.”

The “Dream Team”

Appointed Managing Director, Seana Flanagan had been in the post on an interim basis. According to a press release from the PED, she was Division Director of Educator Quality and has been with PED since 2014. 

Before joining the Public Education Department, Flanagan was a middle school educational assistant and teacher in Vermont. She also worked in retail leadership and training for multiple companies, including Apple. 

The new Assistant Secretary of Policy Research is Gregory Frostad. He previously served as interim Policy and Legislative Affairs Director and Safe and Healthy Schools Director. 

During his nine years with the agency, he managed the COVID response for schools, supervised the submission of more than $20 million in competitive grants and worked with the legislature and governor’s office to distribute the largest funding for New Mexico schools in state history, according to the press release.

Amanda DeBell is the new Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Innovation. Currently, she serves as Albuquerque Public Schools Zone 3 Schools Associate Superintendent. In her role, she will support educator quality and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Part of her responsibilities include overseeing community and charter schools, as well as struggling schools, according to the press release.

The new Assistant Secretary of Indian Education is KatieAnn Juanico, who most recently worked for the San Felipe Pueblo as the Education Director. She he will lead Indian Education Programs, Native American language and culture projects, and tribal consultations.

Candice Castillo is the new Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity and Transformation.She comes to New Mexico from Houston, Texas where she is Executive Officer of Student Support Services at Houston Independent School District. 

Castillo will oversee federal programs, safe and healthy schools, language and culture, and the Black and Hispanic Education Acts, as well as student, school and family support. Castillo is the only new PED leader who is not from New Mexico, but according to the press release, she “heralds from a diverse area of Texas.”