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McIlroy resigns as head of Roswell schools

Dr. Ann McIlroy appears at her last RISD Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. The board announced her resignation, effective that night, after an executive session. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy has resigned as superintendent of the Roswell Independent School District, a little less than two years after arriving from Loving Municipal Schools.

A retired RISD superintendent will serve as acting superintendent for the next six months.

The surprise announcements came Tuesday night after the RISD Board of Education held a closed executive session to discuss McIlroy’s contract.

The meeting occurred with McIlroy, the school district’s attorney and all five of the board members. That included the two newly elected members, Hilda Sanchez and Hope Morales, who took their oaths of office earlier in the evening and were serving as board members for their first meeting.

Board chairman Alan Gedde and members Mona Kirk, James Edwards, Sanchez and Morales returned without McIlroy after the two-hour closed session to make the announcement to a room that still had about a dozen teachers and administrators.

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“I move that the Roswell Independent School District Board accept the resignation of Superintendent Ann Lynn McIlroy, consistent with the terms of the agreement executed this evening between the board and Dr. McIlroy,” Sanchez read.

The board voted unanimously to accept the resignation. The board also voted 5-0 to appoint a retired superintendent to fill the top administrative role on an temporary basis.

“I move that the board appoint Mr. Mike Gottlieb as the acting superintendent for the term of Jan. 15, 2020, through June 30, 2020,” said Edwards.

After the meeting adjourned, Gedde said that no further comment could be made about the situation, but added that an official announcement is expected to be issued today.

McIlroy was not present at that time to make a comment.

According to a Roswell Daily Record news article, Gottlieb retired in June 2012 after more than 30 years with the Roswell school district, having been a teacher, a principal and a district administrator before moving into the position of superintendent.

McIlroy was formerly the superintendent in Loving and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She was chosen as the Roswell schools’ superintendent by the RISD Board of Education in April 2018. She was one of six finalists considered for the top spot and went through a series of board interviews, as well as meetings with various groups in the city, before being selected.

Her tenure in Roswell has had some difficulties. The decision to use some old turf removed at the Wool Bowl in her own yard, as well as in other places in the community, caused public upset. She decided to pay to have the turf removed from her property and disposed of.

She also was criticized intensely for her decision to reorganize principals and administrators at some schools before the beginning of this current academic year. Many of those who spoke at public meetings said that they thought the decisions were racially motivated, an allegation that McIlroy and a few board members said they considered to be “egregious” claims. They said the changes were made to improve student success and affected many Caucasians, as well as employees of other ethnicities. McIlroy also recommended that an equity audit be conducted to assuage concerns.

The board is now in the process of forming an equity council as well. That is a requirement of the New Mexico Public Education Department for each district in the state. The RISD board has indicated that it expects its council to be formed by spring.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.