Editor’s Note: The Albuquerque Public School Board has removed Channell Segura from the short list, leaving three candidates.
After the announcement that Superintendent Scott Elder’s contract would not be renewed, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education geared up for a critical decision that will shape the future of the state’s largest school district.
This is a decision spanning two different slates of elected officials and has involved significant community engagement.
After announcing that 24 candidates had applied for the superintendent position, last week the school board whittled its list down to four candidates.
The four semi-finalists are:
- Thomas Ahart: Dr. Ahart has a 33-year career spanning various roles in the field. Holding an EdD in Educational Leadership from Drake University. His resume shows he has worked on improving equity, student outcomes, and fostering collaborative relationships within educational communities. During Ahart’s tenure as Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools the district redrew school boundaries, introduced virtual schools, and achieved record-high graduation rates. In his resume, Ahart wrote that he possesses expertise in areas such as facilities management, business, finance, and personnel.
- Mason Bellamy: Dr. Bellamy has more than nine years of district leadership experience. He has focused on addressing systemic inequities facing educators, students, families, and communities. According to his resume, he possesses a diverse range of roles in suburban and urban school districts, including teaching, school leadership, and cabinet-level positions. He currently serves as Chief of Academics and Schools in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
- Gabriella Duran Blakey: Duran Blakey currently serves as Chief Operations Officer at Albuquerque Public Schools. Her resume touts her ability to lead and manage complex educational systems effectively, and adds that ensuring students’ safety, and security have been sharpened because of this role. Her resume lists professional accomplishments, including coordinating COVID-19 safety protocols, overseeing substantial bond elections, managing construction projects, and improving school security. She also says she is a sought-after public speaker, with over 30 presentations nationwide, covering topics such as systems change, instructional innovation, operational efficiencies, and women in leadership.
- Channell Segura: Currently Chief of Schools in APS, Dr. Segura writes in her resume that she is committed to cultivating a culture of excellence and growth within the Albuquerque Public Schools community. Segura brings 19 years of experience in New Mexico’s public education landscape. She says her expertise aligns well with APS’s values, emphasizing student-centered learning, staff development, and community engagement. She says her time as Chief of Schools at APS allows her to bring visionary leadership, strategic direction, and support to the superintendent, associate superintendents, and school principals. She adds that her extensive background in education, coupled with her ability to innovate and collaborate effectively, positions her to drive positive change and deliver outstanding educational outcomes for all APS students.
The APS board is scheduled to conduct virtual interviews with these semi-finalists on January 16 to determine the finalists who will advance in the selection process.
Board President Danielle Gonzales said this will be a high-stakes decision for the board. “The futures of our children depend on finding an accomplished educator who prioritizes student learning and social-emotional wellness and commits to the strategic plan to make it all happen,” she said.
To promote community involvement and input, APS has organized public forums scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, at the Berna Facio Professional Development Complex, located at 3315 Louisiana Blvd. NE. The public forums will be an opportunity for APS staff and the community to interact with the superintendent finalists. The schedule for the forums is as follows:
- 9 a.m. – noon: Public Town Hall featuring a student panel and pre-submitted questions for the superintendent finalists.
- 5 – 5:45 p.m.: APS Employee Forum where finalists will respond to questions pre-submitted by teachers and staff.
- 6 – 8 p.m.: General Public Forum where finalists will introduce themselves and address pre-submitted questions.
Members of the community can submit questions for the superintendent finalists until January 26 using this portal.
The APS board will hold an executive session on Wednesday, January 31, to conduct final interviews and select the new superintendent. The chosen candidate will take over from incumbent Superintendent Elder, whose contract expires on June 30.
This superintendent search process marks a crucial moment for APS as it strives to find a leader who will steer the district towards achieving its strategic goals and ensuring the well-being and success of its students.