Board Vice President Matt Ortega cast the only vote to retain Salazar in the position.
After a four-and-a-half-hour special meeting Monday (Jan. 8) the Questa Independent Schools District board voted to remove Superintendent LeAnne Salazar from her position.
Salazar has been out sick and was unable to attend the meeting in which a 4-1 vote from the board ended her employment in the district. Questa School District has seen its share of transition in the superintendent's chair with Salazar being the third full-time superintendent since mid-2017. Board Vice President Matt Ortega cast the only vote to retain Salazar in the position.
"At this point, I have been assigned as the interim superintendent," said acting Superintendent Felipe Blea. "We're going to pursue the most qualified [candidate] and one who is basically going to move the district forward."
Blea has been with the district for several years and has posed as acting superintendent while Salazar was on leave. Blea said Salazar was an at-will employee and did not comment on her termination.
Despite the minor setback in staff, Blea said the schools are searching for someone to work to improve the district and have posted the job opening. The district will be searching for someone who would feel comfortable and understand the challenges and culture of rural towns in Northern New Mexico.
"It's definitely a concern," said Lt. Governor and acting Public Education Department Secretary Howie Morales. "The PED stands here to be a resource, for our children and our communities and we're ready to do so."
Salazar was hired in the district in March of 2017 to replace former superintendent David Albert, who was placed on leave by a unanimous board vote in March 2018. Albert was hired to replace Valerie Trujillo, who left in July 2017 after nearly three years in the seat.
Blea said there would be more intensive background checks to ensure the next superintendent is a good fit for both the schools and the community. Those interested in applying for the position are encouraged to contact the district at (575) 586-0421.
Salazar said she has not received official notice of her dismissal but declined to comment further on the situation at this time.
School board members did not respond to emails requesting comment before deadline.
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