West leader gets new job

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By David Giuliani

West Las Vegas Superintendent Jim Abreu, whose contract expires at the end of the month, has found a new job.

Abreu will become the new executive director of the Northeast Regional Education Cooperative, which is made up of the East, West, Mora, Wagon Mound, Pecos and Santa Rosa school districts.

He will be taking the place of Lorenzo Marquez, who is retiring.

The cooperative is based out of the education building at Highlands University, with a staff of nine full-time employees, plus a dozen contract consultants.

A few months ago, a 3-2 majority of the West Las Vegas school board voted against renewing Abreu’s contract. Abreu’s opponents didn’t give any specific reasons for the decision, but they were upset after the state issued a critical report of the district late last year. Among other allegations, the report contended that the West district was top heavy in administration.  

Abreu, a former education dean at Highlands, will make $90,000 a year in his new job, as did Marquez. Abreu pulls in $115,000 at West.

“I’m happy to get this job,” Abreu said. “He (Marquez) has done a great job. I hope to continue what he’s been doing. This is a great opportunity.”

The cooperative, which is similar to others in New Mexico, gets money from the state and federal governments. It provides special education and professional development services and runs a number of grants.

Marquez, a former Wagon Mound superintendent with a 32-year career in education, said he believes that Abreu will do a good job.

“He’ll find an excellent staff here. Our cash balances are healthy,” he said. “Everything is on the up and up.”

Abreu will start July 1.