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Fired state education secretary to lead Las Cruces schools

August 21, 2019
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, Karen Trujillo, middle, speaks as she is announced as the new as the new Public Education Department Secretary at a news conference in Santa Fe, N.M. She was fired by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham six months later. The Las Cruces Public School board voted Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, to name Trujillo the district's interim superintendent. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, Karen Trujillo, middle, speaks as she is announced as the new as the new Public Education Department Secretary at a news conference in Santa Fe, N.M. She was fired by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham six months later. The Las Cruces Public School board voted Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, to name Trujillo the district's interim superintendent. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Karen Trujillo, the former New Mexico public education secretary who was fired just six months into her job, was chosen Tuesday to lead Las Cruces Public Schools.

In a 5-0 vote, the Las Cruces Public School board named Trujillo as the district’s interim superintendent after Superintendent Greg Ewing resigned last week, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports .

The appointment comes a month after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Trujillo as leader of state’s Public Education Department, raising eyebrows from some state lawmakers and criticism for some in southern New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham said the firing came after some of her “expectations were not met.”

Days later, the state released results that showed around 80% of students weren’t proficient in math and 67% weren’t proficient in reading. The results, from a “transition test” administered in the spring, came weeks into Trujillo’s job.

Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said Trujillo’s firing was not related to the results from test scores.

Las Cruces Public School board members said the district was lucky to find Trujillo amid the disarray as the school year starts.

“This person seems a gift to us at this moment and we want to take it,” school board member Maria Flores said.

“With the school year just starting, and the unexpected availability of this respected education advocate, the board moved quickly to explore the possibility of selecting her to lead Las Cruces Public Schools,” Board President Ed Frank said.

Trujillo is a former Doña Ana county commissioner. The Las Cruces resident was most recently interim associate dean for research in New Mexico State University’s College of Education.

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Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com

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