Larry Chavez

Familiar faces in new roles will herald a wave of change within Santa Fe Public Schools for the next school year.

Incoming Superintendent Larry Chavez announced his leadership team Tuesday, naming a deputy superintendent to fill an impending vacancy and several other top aides as the district begins a transition with the upcoming retirement of his predecessor, Veronica García.

The changes Chavez announced include the elevation of several principals to top leadership posts.

“They know the district, they know the schools that they’ll be working with. They know the teachers, they know the site leadership, they currently work with district leadership,” Chavez said in an interview Tuesday evening following the announcement. “So, I think we’ll be ready to continue the momentum that we currently have.”

Chavez said his picks are a signal the district values employee commitment. The additions, including Chavez, will begin their new roles July 1.

Some people will stay on in their current positions, including Deputy Superintendent of Operations Kristy Janda-Wagner, who was a finalist for the superintendent’s job that went to Chavez in April.

Associate Superintendent Vanessa Romero will become the district’s deputy superintendent for teaching and learning following the retirement of Linda Sink. Interim Chief Financial Officer Robert Martinez II will take the role on a permanent basis, Chavez announced.

Four incoming leadership team members are district principals, including Santa Fe High School Principal Carl Marano, who is being elevated to assistant superintendent for kindergarten through eighth grade school support. He succeeds Debbie Rael, who is retiring.

“It is a bittersweet feeling as I leave my alma mater, Santa Fe High School, a place where I developed so many positive relationships with colleagues, students and parents,” Marano said in a statement. “I am honored to be chosen as assistant superintendent and ready to take the next step in my career by supporting and supervising principals and other administrators in leading their respective school sites and departments.”

Early College Opportunities High School Principal Michael Hagele will become assistant superintendent for secondary schools support.

Marc Ducharme, principal at Nava Elementary, will be the new director of athletics and activities — a role Chavez held under García. Acequia Madre Elementary School Principal Kathy Pack Casaus will become assistant superintendent for elementary school support.

The district anticipates announcing changes to its principal ranks Thursday, Chavez said.

“We have great principals in place currently, [and] we have a great group of assistant principals that are probably ready to take on a bigger leadership role within the district, so I’m sure we’ll get some of those who apply or show interest,” Chavez said.

Chavez said assembling the administrative team will not require additional funding.

“We’re all committed to great outcomes for our students,” Chavez said. “We’re going to do the best we can and give it a great effort.”

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