Santa Fe Public Schools official leaving for Animas

Jeff Gephart

Santa Fe Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Jeff Gephart is leaving this week for an expanded role in a much smaller district.

Gephart, who has been with Santa Fe Public Schools for three years, often serving as the district’s spokesman, said he is taking a job as a districtwide administrator at Animas Public Schools, where he will work as an elementary, middle and high school principal while also handling assistant superintendent duties that include curriculum and instruction.

“It’s tough to come up with one title to describe the new position. I’ll be wearing a lot of hats,” Gephart said. “This is an opportunity to work directly in the schools and get to know all of the students. Here, because of the size of the district, I was never able to have that direct impact.”

Animas, located in the Bootheel region of far southwestern New Mexico, had an enrollment of 177 K-12 students compared to around 13,000 in Santa Fe, according to Public Education Department data. Gephart, 47, said Animas schools operate on a four-day school week to accommodate family-farm schedules and added that some bus routes stretch 75 miles across the district.

Gephart, who said he will relocate to Silver City, where he graduated from Western New Mexico University in 2000, taught in school districts in Deming, Silver City and Alamogordo between 1999 and 2015. After four years in Santa Fe — one with the Public Education Department as a teacher liaison and three as an assistant superintendent in charge of community engagement and public information — Gephart is returning to his adopted home.

“I’m originally from Cleveland, but I call southwest New Mexico home,” Gephart said. “When I first got to Silver City, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Now I’ve reached the point in my career where it’s time to go back.”