State grieves loss of Las Cruces superintendent


Last updated 2/27/2021 at 4:16pm

Algernon D'Ammassa / Las Cruces Sun-News

Karen Trujillo was a longtime New Mexico educator.

New Mexico's education community was stunned Thursday to learn about the death of Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Karen Trujillo.

Trujillo, 50, died Thursday evening after being struck by a vehicle while walking her dogs.

Trujillo had been LCPS superintendent since September of 2019, moving into the position after a long career as a New Mexico educator and researcher who served briefly as the state's public education secretary.

"Dr. Trujillo was a revered educational leader with a driving ambition for serving New Mexico children and their families," Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Renee Russ said. "Her life's work will leave a lasting imprint on public education in our state, and she will be sorely missed. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, her district, and her community."

"Karen Trujillo truly wanted the best for every student," said former Clovis Superintendent Jody Balch.

"She was kind, caring and a problem solver. She will be missed."

Said Dennis Roch, a former lawmaker and now superintendent of Logan schools: "She was a tireless advocate for kids and for public education in New Mexico."

Las Cruces police responded to the crash around 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the 1200 block of Edgewood, north of Elks and Main, according to a post on the agency's Facebook page. Officers learned a minivan was traveling west on Edgewood when Trujillo was struck.

"The driver of the minivan remained on scene and has been cooperative with police," the post states.

Police say the victim was taken to MountainView Regional Medical Center and was pronounced dead soon after.

Both dogs were seriously injured and were being treated by a veterinarian.

Jessica Sanders, who met Trujillo when Sanders was named the 2019 New Mexico teacher of the year, called Trujillo an "outstanding woman, educator, and educational leader."

"She was a true New Mexican ... down to earth, friendly, compassionate, welcoming," she said.

"She saw that investing in teachers was investing in students," Sanders said.

New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart posted on Twitter about her passing:

"Devastated by the news of the tragic passing of Karen Trujillo this evening. My deepest condolences to the LCPS community grieving the loss of another dear educator. We lost a champion for children tonight."

Both the New Mexico House Republicans and the New Mexico House Democrats tweeted about Trujillo's passing.

The New Mexico House Republican Caucus' official Twitter page tweeted: "Heartbreaking news out of Las Cruces. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

The New Mexico House Democrats' official page tweeted: "Absolutely unexpected and devastating news. Our hearts go out to Fmr Sec. Trujillo's family and the students and community she loved and served."

It wasn't immediately clear whether the minivan driver would face criminal charges.


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