Magdalena Schools and Socorro Consolidated Schools would be wise to follow at least some of the advice given by former Las Cruces Interim Superintendent Steve Sanchez.
Sanchez urged the Socorro Consolidated Schools Board last week to be transparent in its search for a permanent superintendent.
He urged the board to be as open as possible and include the community — both within the schools and without — in the search process.
Clearly, the Magdalena School Board did not do that after accepting Superintendent Vanetta Perry’s resignation effective at the end of the school year. The board named Sandra Montoya the superintendent at Perry’s recommendation.
The move caught most people by surprise. The manner of which it was done angered some people.
To the board’s credit, it did rescind Montoya’s appointment last week.
We’re not saying Montoya would be a bad choice for superintendent.
We are saying it was a bad decision to leave the public out of the decision. It probably wasn’t wise for the board to make the decision in transition.
The newly elected school board members should have been part of that decision. They are the ones who have to work with the next superintendent.
Both local school boards should take the lessons learned going forward.
The next superintendents of Socorro and Magdalena school districts will be the faces of those districts. They will be the ones charged with giving the districts a sense of direction as both try to make improvements on district and school grades, as well as impacting lives of students.
New Mexico Tech set a good example during its search for a new president. Once the Board of Regents narrowed its list down to five finalists, it gave students, faculty, staff and members of the community a chance to meet each of the finalists and sought input from them before coming to a decision.
Because of budget cuts forced by the budget shortfall in Santa Fe, school districts are strapped for cash.
One can’t blame either school district if they are not casting wide nets for applicants and are leaning toward internal hires.
Either way, we believe it would wise to include the public in the search, either by putting members of the community on a search committee or at least setting up public forums to give students, parents, teachers, faculty, staff and members of the community outside of the schools a voice in the process.
Sanchez also advised the Socorro board to come up with a minimum list of qualifications and a list of characteristics they wanted in a new superintendent.
That would be wise for both school districts to do.