East second-in-command leaving

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By David Giuliani

The second-in-command at the Las Vegas City Schools announced Wednesday that her last day at work would be today.

Associate Superintendent Barbara Perea Casey’s departure will come three days after the school board passed over her for the superintendent’s job.

A 3-2 school board majority picked Questa schools Superintendent Richard Romero over Casey and three other finalists.

Casey issued a terse, three-sentence letter to Superintendent Pete Campos, telling him that she would serve the rest of her contract to June 30 by using 36 days of vacation and two days of sick leave. She is donating the rest of her sick leave to the district’s sick leave bank.

Casey has been in public education long enough that she can start collecting retirement.

Her letter was devoid of any emotion, excluding the word “dear” before Campos’ name and using “signed” instead of “sincerely” at the end.

In a two-page memo to Campos and other officials, she listed the work she had completed before leaving and informed them where various school-owned property was in her office.

“Regardless of whether or not my work has been acknowledged or appreciated, I am proud of the work that I have done for the Las Vegas City Schools in my capacity as associate superintendent,” she stated in the memo.

She added that she is leaving with a “feeling of peace” because she did everything in accordance with state and federal laws and always with the welfare of students students in mind.

Board member Ramon “Swoops” Montao said Thursday that he hadn’t heard about Casey’s resignation.

Board President Patrick Romero, who supported Casey for the superintendent’s position, said he was sad that she was leaving.

“It’ll leave a major vacuum right there. She will be impossible to replace,” he said.

Patrick Romero said he preferred Casey because of her qualifications, noting that she had more experience, education and knowledge of the district than Richard Romero.

“We had the opportunity to hire someone knowledgeable in all facets of education,” he said.

Casey, who has her Ph.D, was first hired as a superintendent in 1996 in the southern New Mexico district of Hondo Valley. She came back to her hometown of Las Vegas in 2001 and served as the West Las Vegas superintendent there for two years.

In 2003, the West school board didn’t renew her contract and terminated her husband, Frank, a teacher’s aide, shortly afterward. She sued, alleging that she was the victim of sex discrimination and retaliation. She contended that the district let her go in retaliation for reporting problems in Head Start to the federal government.

West settled with the Caseys last year, giving them $375,000, but the district admitted no wrongdoing.

For the City Schools, she took charge of the district when Campos was away. And that was quite often because Campos, a state senator, is gone one or two months a year for legislative sessions as well as committee meetings throughout the year.

After the district passed her over for the top job Monday, she told the Optic afterward that she was upset.

“They selected someone who doesn’t have the experience, the education or the knowledge that I have,” she said, calling the search for a superintendent a “dog-and-pony show.”

“Las Vegas is the only place where I have lived where expertise and credentials mean nothing,” she said.

Casey’s departure could mean more work for Campos in his final two months on the job after five years as superintendent. He is becoming Luna Community College’s president July 1.

“He’ll have to pick up the slack,” Patrick Romero said.

Campos had no comment this morning on Casey’s decision to resign, calling it a “personnel issue.”

Campos said the district would start the process soon of finding a replacement. He said a person may be hired before Richard Romero takes office. That’s because most people looking for administrative jobs are doing so right now and the district doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to hire a good candidate, Campos said.

He promised to be in close consultation with Richard Romero on hiring a associate superintendent and other issues.