By Tony Parra
Paul Benoit is now closer to other family members, and that is one of the reasons he applied for the superintendent position at Floyd Schools.
Benoit said he’s been doing a lot of catching up on school projects and curriculum for Floyd Schools. Benoit began his tenure as superintendent of Floyd Schools on July 5 and was selected for the position in March.
“That’s all I’ve been doing is catching up,” Benoit said. “I’ve been getting to know the new faces and getting acclimated to the school.”
Mark Dunlap, vice president of the Floyd School Board, said he feels confident Benoit will continue the good work of Wayne McCullar, who was the superintendent for one year. McCullar said in February that he was leaving for a job opportunity in the Florida Keys more beneficial to his family, and finished his term through May.
School board members feel they have an adequate replacement in Benoit.
“I feel it was important to hire someone with the experience in the budget process that he has,” Dunlap said. “He’s got to be able to deal with “No Child Left Behind” and other mandates.”
Benoit said he has been superintendent of the Animas School District for the last two years.
“We wanted to come back home, to the east side of the state,” Benoit said. “My wife is from Artesia and we lived in Tucumcari. We enjoyed the Animas school system but it was in a remote part of the state. We came here because of the small school and location.”
Animas is located in the southwestern corner of New Mexico, 155 miles from Las Cruces, and has a population of 3,379 according to the 2000 Census.
He said one difference he has noticed between both schools is that the Floyd School District has a music program and Animas doesn’t.
Benoit said he received his masters in Education in 1991 from Eastern New Mexico University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the College of Santa Fe. He worked as a registrar, teacher and coach for five years for the Tucumcari Municipal Schools.
Benoit said while he was living in Tucumcari with his wife, he was commuting to Portales to attend ENMU.
Benoit said while he was in Estancia, he was the middle school principal, and later became an elementary school principal and the assistant superintendent.
Benoit said he was in his first Floyd school board meeting on July 11.
“I was ready to sit down with the school board as a whole and get a feel for everything,” Benoit said. “We went over our programs and minor handbook changes.”
According to Benoit, teachers will report on Aug. 15 and the first day of school will be on Aug. 17. Benoit said he and his wife, Lucia, have three children who will be attending Floyd High School.
Benoit said his negotiated annual salary is $70,000. The Floyd School Board has agreed to a one-year contract with Benoit with the option to review each year during the spring, according to Benoit.
Lisa Schmidt, school board member, said another plus in Benoit was his experience in small schools.
“He knows were we are coming from and how to deal with a budget our size,” Schmidt said. “He knows the teachers in small districts must be able to do more things.”