By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Portales schools superintendent James Holloway said he will resign at the end of the school year to take a position with the New Mexico Public Education Department in Santa Fe.
Holloway will be finishing his eighth year as superintendent of schools in May.
The only obstacle remaining with Holloway taking the position of assistant secretary of Education for Rural Education is a background check, according to Veronica Garcia, the state’s secretary of education.
Garcia said once the background check has been completed, which could take up to two weeks, the announcement will become official.
“I really felt at home,” Holloway said about Portales. “(But this job offer is) an opportunity I just can’t pass up. It’s something I feel will stretch my wings and talents.”
He has been offered the position within the last seven days, Garcia said.
“We’re real excited about having him on board,” Garcia said. “He is very well-respected by his peers. He has an outstanding amount of experience in public schools and he’s innovative.”
Garcia said Holloway’s experience in Baldridge, a data collecting system which helps students in their learning, was another reason why he was chosen.
Holloway said he talked about the opportunity with his wife, Cheryl Holloway, who is the assistant professor of health and physical education at Eastern New Mexico University. Holloway said his is qualified and has interests in state-level openings, which also contributed to the decision.
Holloway will continue his duties with the school district until May 20.
School board members were notified by Holloway on Monday about his decision.
“I was crushed,” Portales school board member David Brooks said. “It was quite a blow to us. I don’t think he would have left under any other circumstances. We really hate to lose him. I had concerns about who we could get to replace him. He’s the cream of his crop.”
Brooks said Holloway fit in well and the school district has benefited from his guidance in the last eight years. He said Holloway’s hard work has brought about the construction of new buildings, a reorganization of the district and implementation of the Baldridge system.
Brooks said the board members have not discussed the search of a replacement.
Holloway said some of his new responsibilities would be offering support to school districts with less than 1,000 students.
“They (education department) felt like they (rural schools) were getting overlooked,” Holloway said. “My department can be called on for help. We’ll process the data and create solutions to the problems to share with Secretary Garcia.”
The Portales school board members had approved a two-year extension for Holloway’s contract extended through 2006 in a school board meeting in early January.