Local finance leader Chad Cole described himself as eager to return to a position with the Roswell Independent School District that he left about a year before.
Cole will go back to the school district as assistant superintendent of finance and operations. He will start the position Monday.
“I am really thrilled and excited to be back,” he said. “It feels like home. … I needed and wanted to start as soon as possible just because there is a lot of work that needs to be done to close out the fiscal year.”
Cole resigned from the district in June 2016 after 11 years with the organization. He had started in 2005 as a grants coordinator and charter school business administrator. In 2009, he became the district’s chief financial officer.
He resigned prior to the February 2017 resignation of Superintendent Tom Burris.
Burris said at the time of Cole’s resignation that the departure represented a big loss for the district, which has 21 schools, about 13,000 students and a projected $77.15 million operating budget for the coming academic year.
After his resignation, Cole joined Roswell-based Pioneer Bank as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He said he is grateful for the organization and its people. He chose not to discuss when he left the company.
“Pioneer has been so good to me,” he said. “They are a great outfit, and there are a lot of hardworking people there.”
Pioneer Bank President Christopher Palmer said, “Chad felt that he could make the greatest impact by returning to the district, and we supported him in that.”
A native of Roswell, Cole earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern New Mexico University and a master’s degree in business administration, with a focus on finance and accounting, from Regis University’s College for Professional Studies in Denver. He also served for five years with the New Mexico Army National Guard.
Prior to joining the school district, he worked for Leprino Foods and a full-service accounting firm.
Cole said he looks forward to contributing to the community by working for the schools.
“If you want to make a difference in a community, working in education is a great way to do that,” he said.
He also said that he thinks local public schools are facing many challenges with limited state funding, continued lower prices for oil and gas, and an upcoming change in the gubernatorial administration. He said that he has been through many of the same challenges before with Interim Superintendent Susan Sanchez, when she was assistant superintendent.
“Susan and I worked through all that as a team,” he said. “I can see that we are heading down the same path in terms of the state budget.”
He said he thought the group he worked at the district during prior financial crises handled the problems in the right way, by managing expenses and not having to resort to layoffs, furloughs or shorter school or work weeks.
Cole’s wife, Jennifer, also has accepted a position with the district. Previously a Mesa Middle School principal, she left that position during Burris’s tenure to work as a coordinator and instructor at Sidney Gutierrez Middle School.
Starting in July, she will serve as director of federal programs in the district’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at email@example.com.