SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Public Education Department announced Monday four more designees to assume temporary governance of Los Lunas schools. According to a news release from the department, NMPED appointed the following members:
- Tina Garcia, a retired magistrate judge, former county clerk and resident of District 1
- Jessie Lewis, a landscape architect and resident of District 3
- Ragon Espinoza, a behavioral health care provider and resident of District 4
- Bruce Bennett, a retired educational assistant and coach and former vice president of the National Education Association-New Mexico and a resident of District 5.
The state suspended the entire Los Lunas school board due to evidence that certain members have violated procurement and public access laws, the state Public School Code, and professional ethical standards, according to NMPED. They join former Los Lunas School Board member Sonya C’Moya, who was designated on May 28.
“It’s great to have this many highly qualified citizens who are willing to step in and do the important work of governing the Los Lunas Schools in this time of need,” said Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart in the same news release. “These outstanding individuals will ensure that the district has the responsible and representative governance it needs to keep the district focused on the needs of students.”
NMPED says per state statute, the secretary has authority to remove an entire school board but not individual members. NMPED says there were 24 Los Lunas residents that expressed interest in serving as a secretary’s designee on the governing committee and they interviewed eight people.