The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

New superintendent establishes leadership team


June 30, 2019

CLOVIS — Tuesday night’s board meeting welcomed Renee Russ as new superintendent for Clovis Municipal Schools.

By the end of it, Russ had her leadership team in place.

Russ said the district had two cabinet openings due to the departure of Kerry Parker (human resources) for a job back east and the retirement of Carrie Bunce (deputy superintendent of operations). With that, and the current field of administrators available, Russ created a leadership team and a cabinet of deputy superintendents.

Russ said Parker had a tremendous advantage for professional advancement and a chance to move near family, and that Bunce would be missed due to every department she ever inhabited being better than when she left it.

“It’s an advantage that the people who have moved into the new positions bring the experience and skill set to do well in these positions," Russ said, "and that the district will benefit greatly from the addition of the new faces."

That team includes:

• Mitzi Estes, deputy superintendent of academic services and leadership

• Shawna Russell, deputy superintendent of finance

• Joe Strickland, deputy superintendent of employee services

• Laura Adkins, executive director of language, culture and at-risk services

• Mandy Carpenter, executive director of talent management and development

• Carrie Nigreville, executive director of strategic planning and school support

• Shelly Norris, executive director of education quality

That team was codified by the school board with revisions to the 2019-2020 salary structure. According to the revised salary structure, each deputy superintendent receives a salary of $121,150 (R9 designation) and each executive director’s salary is $91,000 (R6 designation)

Russ praised Strickland, who was previously deputy superintendent of instruction, for his willingness and strong background human resources, along with his people skills. The position was renamed to emphasize a desire to have the administrative office as a service point for the district’s employees.

Estes slides into the instruction role, where she was previously second in command. Estes has led the school's partnership with the University of Virginia, and Russ felt she was the perfect fit.

In other business before the board:

• The board approved curriculums for science, visual and performing arts and career and technical curriculum.

Introduced was a veterinary science curriculum. Strickland, who handled both instructional matters and personnel matters during the meeting, admitted to the board he couldn’t yet answer too many specific questions about the program — including one about partnerships with universities.

“My assumption is (the curriculum) would be both for large and small animals,” Strickland said. “Since this is an introduction item, I can get back to you before the vote (at the July 23 meeting). With all of the colleges doing online work, there’s no reason not to do (partnerships).”

• Three procurement agreements were reached involving school board members.

The agreements stipulate that a school board member with a business may provide the district with their services, provided the selection is in the best interests of the district and that the board member in question abstains from any board action on the selection.

The agreements were for Paul Cordova (disc jockey business), Kyle Snider (electric business) and Shawn Hamilton (auto dealerships). Each procurement agreement passed 4-0 with the person referenced in the agreement abstaining.


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