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Dexter Schools superintendent plans retirement

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The superintendent of the Dexter Consolidated Schools District has expressed her intention to retire after the end of the school year, after 30 years in the field of education.

Lesa Dodd informed the Board of Education of her decision at a special meeting Monday night.

Very little was said at the meeting itself, which was held online and by phone and attended by four of the five board members. Other school matters also were discussed at the time.

Dodd told board members that she had submitted a letter to them and she referenced a June 30 effective date. That would be after classes ended for the academic year, as they are now scheduled to conclude by May 20.

Orlando Chavez, vice president of the board and the person presiding at the meeting, asked, “Do we have time to talk you into it, talk you back out of it?”

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Dodd responded, “You have until June 30th.”

Chavez said, “We have time. All right.”

Another board member expressed her appreciation for Dodd’s contributions over the years.

Dodd’s letter states that she joined the Dexter school district as a teacher in 1996. She served as a high school teacher for 10 years, a middle school principal for seven years and superintendent for eight years.

She wrote that she sometimes had to make unpopular decisions or take the blame for situations she did not feel were her fault, but that she is leaving with no regrets for the decisions she has made and actions she has taken.

“I have learned that regardless of what decision is made, it will never please anyone,” she wrote. “But the decisions I have made were with professionalism, ethics and integrity.”

She also said she made decisions with the intent of doing what is best for students.

Dodd’s contract had been renewed Nov. 11, 2019, shortly after school board elections, which at the time had upset some people who wanted the contract discussions to wait until three newly elected board members were seated in January 2020.

At that time, a petition to ask for a vote delay was circulated expressing concerns some Dexter residents and parents had about the district.

Dexter Consolidated School District has elementary, middle and high schools located in separate buildings within the same area of the agricultural town. Its current enrollment is about 821.

According to the New Mexico Vistas website, a project of the New Mexico Public Education Department, 99% of the district’s students are considered economically disadvantaged. For the 2018-19 year, the project gave the district a 51 rating for overall performance out of a possible 100 points. The average score for districts in the state was 53.

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