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Two vying to head East schools

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Interviews set for Saturday

By Mercy Lopez

Two familiar longtime educators are in the running for the superintendent position at Las Vegas City Schools.

Barbara Perea Casey and Ruben Cordova recently submitted their applications for the position and both will be interviewed by the board on Saturday. Board President Gloria Lovato Pacheco said the board received three applications, although one of the applicants — a current principal at the district — did not meet the minimum qualifications.

According to the meeting agenda posted on the district’s website, the board is scheduled to take action on the hiring of the superintendent after an executive session. The special board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Saturday in the board room located in the district’s administration building on Douglas Avenue.

Perea Casey’s career in education spans nearly four decades. She has a doctorate in educational leadership and organization learning. Perea Casey is currently the executive director of the local Court Appointed Special Advocates program, a volunteer organization that provides court advocates for child abuse and neglect victims.

She is also involved with numerous community organizations and does consulting work for several northern New Mexico school districts. She has a lengthy history of working with area school districts.

Perea Casey was appointed to her first superintendent position in 1996. She served as superintendent of Hondo Valley Public Schools until 2001.

She has previously served  as superintendent of the West Las Vegas School District. She was terminated from that position in 2003 after leading the district for more than two years. She and her husband, Frank Casey, subsequently filed a lawsuit against the district alleging sex discrimination and that she was forced out in retaliation for her actions in reporting problems with the Head Start program to the federal government.

The Caseys eventually received a $375,000 settlement, but the district did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Perea Casey eventually ended up working at Las Vegas City Schools as an associate superintendent. In 2008, she was a finalist for the superintendent position at City Schools, but was not selected for the top spot. She resigned her position shortly thereafter.

In 2009, she was awarded the Grace Barker Award for the New Mexico branch of the American Association of University Women.

Perea Casey is a former lawmaker, having represented Chaves and Eddy counties as a state representative for 12 years.
Perea Casey’s interview is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday. Cordova’s interview is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Cordova has a doctorate in education administration and is also a former West Las Vegas School District superintendent.

He is credited with helping the district regain its financial authority from the state Public Education Department.

Cordova resigned as West’s superintendent abruptly in September 2012. His last day at the West Las Vegas School district was Sept. 20, 2012.  He has been retired since then.

Prior to serving as superintendent, Cordova was associate superintendent. He served two stints as associate superintendent at West, from 1998 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2006. It was during his second stint at West when the district came under fire for spending bilingual funds on parties and other frills. While several other district officials and employees were criminally charged as a result of that investigation, Cordova was not.

Cordova has also served as superintendent at Wagon Mound and Mora schools. From 1997 to 1998, he worked at the state Department of Education as deputy superintendent. He also served as associate superintendent at Pojoaque schools.

The person selected will replace Sheryl McNellis-Martinez, who is on paid leave until her contract expires later this year.

Lydia Flores, the district’s bilingual and federal programs director, has been serving as interim superintendent.