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RISD narrows superintendent search to six applicants; Final selection will be announced April 16 at school board meeting

Interim superintendent Susan Sanchez, pictured left, and school board president Mona Kirk shake hands with Military Heights Elementary School students at the school board meeting on March 13. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Six candidates have been chosen for a final interview for the Roswell Independent School District superintendent position.

School board president Mona Kirk said there were 15 completed applications received and six were selected from that pool. Kirk said the selection process went much smoother than what she had originally anticipated

“They were all great candidates,” Kirk said. “The process was individual. Each board member was given the names and then we ranked them — and it was interesting to see the similarities in our choices, so that was a plus.”

All of the candidates will be interviewed on April 14 and the final selection will be announced on April 16 at 5 p.m. at the special school board meeting.

Susan Sanchez, interim superintendent, and Dr. Porter Cutrell, director of alternative education at University High School and Roswell Early College High School, are two candidates within RISD selected for the final round of interviews.

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“I believe I have the expertise and knowledge to continue to lead and serve the RISD as superintendent,” Sanchez said in a written statement. “(By) empowering teachers, supporting administrators and staff, recognizing students, communicating with parents and working collaboratively with our board of education, RISD can reach its full potential of becoming an ‘A’ district.”

In the release, Sanchez said she was an advocate at the most recent legislative session in Santa Fe for increasing teacher and staff salaries, which she intends to continue if selected. Sanchez also said school safety is her priority and will continue to strengthen school security with secure visitor entrances and installing updated security surveillance systems.

A product of the RISD school system and with 25 years of experience as an educator, Sanchez attended Chisum Elementary, Mountainview Middle School and graduated from Roswell High in 1984.

A Goddard High graduate of the class of 1980, Cutrell said he appreciated the school board’s consideration and an invitation to interview for the position. If Cutrell is selected, he said he assumes his current position would be open for applications.

“I’ve worked in the district for four years in an administrative position,” Cutrell said. “Back in the late ‘80s, I was a teacher in the district and I have been in and out of Roswell since 1977. I’m a Goddard High School graduate, so I have been through the school system here in high school.

“I think I just kind of have a unique perspective on education and from my background in coaching and teaching and now my administrative time. I’m the guy that believes in life after graduation and how do we have an education really personalized for our students and what their goals are and what their future work goals will be.”

Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy is the superintendent at Loving Municipal Schools in Loving.

“I am very honored to be considered for this position,” McIlroy said. “Roswell is a great community and I look forward to meeting with the different teams to discuss the great achievements and potential of RISD.”

Another applicant, Anthony Sorola is the assistant superintendent of administrative services at Lufkin Independent School District in east Texas. Originally from La Mesa, Texas, Sorola said he would be excited to return to a familiar area of the country if he is chosen.

“I consider myself a quality candidate because ultimately I have the right priorities and the right motivations for seeking this opportunity,” he said. “I am looking to utilize the talents I am fortunate to have  — those talents would be a quality education myself, a successful career in public education, the ability to communicate with not only Spanish speaking-students but English-speaking students as well. I’d ultimately like to use these talents and skills to ultimately be a service to other people and I have been very blessed to have this opportunity over these last 17 years.

“Ultimately, if given the chance, I will be committed to working alongside all of the various constituents from the business community to the parents, to all citizens and students, to continue the great tradition of quality public education there in Roswell and continue the growth in this work.”

Suchint Sarangarm from Hobbs and Ricky Williams from Hagerman, the remaining candidates, did not respond by press time.

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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