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Four finalists named for Mora schools

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By David Giuliani

State Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate, was originally considered the only applicant for Mora schools superintendent to have submitted all that was required in his application packet.

With member George Trujillo absent, the school board on Tuesday unanimously picked four finalists: Garcia, a Luna Community College instructor; Herman Gallegos, former director of human resources for the Pueblo of Pojoaque; Norma Cavazos, director of support services for the Pecos schools; and Phil Kasper, a principal in the Cortez, Colo., schools.

Garcia was originally scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday, but it was delayed until June 8, along with the other finalists. The district hopes to have a new superintendent by July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.

Joseph Griego, the Mora school board chairman, said the school district’s attorney advised the board not to “split hairs” on the submission requirements.

Garcia was the only candidate who submitted a college transcript in a sealed envelope that was issued to him. The others submitted transcripts that were unsealed.

The district had wanted candidates to have transcripts submitted from their colleges directly to the Mora district, Griego said. No one fully met that requirement, he said.

Griego said he is looking for a superintendent who has a good insight into finances and who can bring innovative ideas to help the district’s elementary and middle schools meet the federal standard of adequate yearly progress. (Mora High School already meets the standard.)

The district has $100,000 to $120,000 budgeted for the superintendent’s position, but Griego said it’s likely the district will pay near $100,000 because of budget constraints.

In December, the Mora school board placed Superintendent Dora Romero on leave. That was after the Griego had criticized her for spending on such things as leather jackets, meals and hundreds of dollars worth of beef jerky for state lawmakers, including Garcia. He also noted a number of financial irregularities.

Romero resigned in February. Since December, Leroy “Huero” Sanchez, a former Luna Community College president, has been acting superintendent.