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Portales schools maintenance director leaving


Last updated 3/3/2020 at 3:42pm

PORTALES —Maintenance is one of those things that, if done right, nobody else gives it a second thought.

Portales Municipal Schools board members and administrators were thinking about it plenty as they bid an early farewell during Monday night’s board meeting to longtime district Director of Maintenance Nat Gomez.

Gomez, who has served the district in that position since November 2002, is leaving later this month for a position with the Lancaster Independent School District in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Board member Rod Savage first pointed out the resignation as part of the human resources report, and said Gomez’ departure and his tenure deserved mention.

“I think we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for service to this community,” Savage said.

No other comments were made about Gomez’ departure until the close of the meeting, with Superintendent Johnnie Cain noting he didn’t want to bring it up mid-meeting out of fears he’d get emotional discussing it.

The move is to be closer to immediate family and for various medical concerns.

“I’d like to say I’ve always felt welcome and appreciated,” Gomez told the board. “On behalf of my wife and I, thank you so much ... it’s easy to work in a place you’re supported and respected.”

Numerous administrators praised Gomez for the small and large tasks he did over more than 17 years, including Athletic Director Mark Gallegos saying he couldn’t do his job without Gomez.

Cain said he gave Gomez high praise in recommendations, though he joked a selfish part of him wanted to give low marks if it meant retaining Gomez.

Gomez, Cain said, always approached his job with professionalism and found ways to get along when competing views arose.

“He’s really good at disagreeing with me in a way that I don’t know I’m being disagreed with,” Cain said.

In other business at the Monday meeting:

• The board approved application for a pair of Department of Transportation awards for parking lots.

The first parking lot would be a repaving of the Portales High north parking lot along Amazon Street for $150,331. The second priority lot would be a new parking lot for $259,000 at the PHS athletic complex on the southeast corner of the PHS campus boundary.

The athletic complex currently includes a track facility, the PHS baseball field and the PHS soccer field, and the eventual hope is to also add a softball field and tennis courts.

If one or both projects are approved, the district would cover 25% of the costs.

• Sara Hunton, the district’s coordinator of curriculum and instruction, went over the NM DASH program. The program, Hunton said, creates leadership teams at each campus who use data to discover campus needs and how to address them.

A goal, Hunton said, is to see how students are handling certain subjects and sharing that information with individual families to suggest authentic learning experiences.

“We don’t use, ‘I think,’ or, ‘I feel,’” Federal Programs Director Rick Segovia said. “We’re making decisions based on the data we receive.”

• Board members received reports from various student groups, including the PHS student council on its state conference trip, senior Nichole Washburn’s clearance to run as a national Business Professionals of America officer and PHS’ dominance at a recent Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement regional competition.

Portales brought three teams to the Southeast region competition Feb. 7, program advisor Jack Willis said. The three teams took three of the top four spots in three separate categories — on-site surprise, Sphero robotics and overall.

• The board approved a first reading of board policy changes to align with federal standards.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 14 at the PMS administrative offices.


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