ABQ board to meet about schools chief

Winston Brooks

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The board of New Mexico’s largest school district scheduled a meeting Monday to discuss an investigation into its superintendent, the focus of which remains a mystery.

A serious personnel issue came up during the performance review for Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks, board president Analee Maestas said. Maestas said in a statement last week that she hired an attorney to investigate the personnel issue and the lawyer has produced a report.

The meeting “will include an executive session to discuss the matter with Mr. Brooks,” Maestas said in the statement. “Until that time, it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further.”

Brooks confirmed that the attorney has interviewed him, but he declined to give details on the investigation. Brooks said he had not heard about the report.

Some board members were upset Maestas hired the attorney without a board vote.

“The procedure is the board gives her the authority. In my opinion she did not have the authority,” board member David Peercy told the Albuquerque Journal. “It’s just a procedural thing that I think has been a little sloppy.”

The investigation comes after Brooks was suspended for three days and put on an improvement plan last year following his disparaging comment about Education Secretary Hanna Skandera on Twitter. In two tweets, he compared Skandera to livestock.

Brooks apologized and said he “meant no offense.”

Hired in July 2008, Brooks was given a three-year rolling contract and is eligible for a one-year extension every year. He earns an annual salary of $258,000.

Albuquerque Public Schools has more than 90,000 students and is one of the largest districts in the country.

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