New Mexico Losing 3Rd Public Education Secretary In 4 Years

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s third public education secretary in four years has announced his retirement, saying he has a critical need to focus on his family and his health.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Kurt Steinhaus last day of work was Friday. He joined the administration in 2021.

The newspaper said Steinhaus is the third Cabinet secretary in four days to reveal plans to leave the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Three other high-level officials outside the Cabinet also announced their departures in the last 10 days.

Lujan Grisham said in a written statement that Steinhaus is leaving public education in a better place and he deserves a happy retirement.

Steinhaus, a retired Los Alamos schools superintendent, oversaw the implementation of new social studies standards and helped lead the state’s response to a 2018 court ruling that found New Mexico was violating the rights of some students by failing to provide an adequate public education.

The turnover comes amid a 60-day legislative session in which lawmakers are examining ways to boost academic achievement in public schools.

Lujan Grisham will be looking for her fourth public education department secretary in four years.

The Journal said Lujan Grisham’s predecessor, Susana Martinez, had just two public education secretaries in an eight-year period and one of them served more than six years.

But the Lujan Grisham administration has noted that her tenure coincided with a pandemic, adding to the stress of what are already high-pressure jobs, according to the newspaper.