LOS LUNAS — Deborah Elder, Ed.D., chief academic officer of curriculum, assessment and innovation for Los Lunas Schools, has been appointed as interim superintendent.
The Los Lunas Board of Education appointed Elder following the acceptance of superintendent Arsenio Romero’s retirement at a special board meeting held Monday, Feb. 27.
“I wholeheartedly thank the board for the honor of serving the Los Lunas Schools as interim superintendent,” Elder said. “As Dr. Romero steps up to serve all of New Mexico as secretary of the public education department, my task will be to keep the focus he established on student learning. Our district cabinet are exceptional leaders, and I know that our team will ensure that the transition is smooth for students, staff and community.”
After a two-hour discussion in a closed executive session, the Los Lunas Board of Education members voted to appoint Elder on a 3-2 vote. The board members who voted in support of Elder include Eloy Giron, Bryan Smith and board president Tina Garcia. The two members who voted against her appointment were David Vickers and Bruce Bennett.
“What I wanted more than anything was a smooth transition,” Garcia said. “I want to say thank you to the board for working together to accomplish this feat of unfortunately letting our superintendent go, but fortunately helping to find a person that can help us take this into the next few months until we get to a final pick.”
Elder joined Los Lunas Schools as chief academic officer of instruction, accountability, and innovation in 2021 with the initiative to elevate student learning to world-class performance. She established the Los Lunas Schools Learning Innovations office to support educators in improving student learning outcomes.
Prior to LLS, Elder led the office of innovation and school choice in the Albuquerque Public Schools. As a school principal, her leadership in classroom technology resulted in an increase in the school letter grade from D to A. Her career began in the classroom teaching elementary students nearly three decades ago.
Elder says she is dedicated to growing future educators. She is a performance coach for principals with the New Mexico Public Education Department. She also keeps her focus on teaching as adjunct faculty with the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management E-MBA program and the University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching program.
She is a life-long learner and proud UNM Lobo with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in curriculum, and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership. She is also an enthusiastic University of Southern California Trojan with a doctorate in organizational change and leadership.
She is married to Scott Elder, the superintendent at Albuquerque Public Schools, and they have two sons, who are graduates of New Mexico public schools and who are now attending college in state.
Romero’s last day at Los Lunas Schools will be March 31. Elder noted there is no one better to serve New Mexico as the PED secretary, and is excited to continue the focus on student learning that Romero started.
“It’s a tremendous honor to get to serve the community in this way,” Elder said. “I think in the next few months, the most important thing is for us to close out this year strong and be ready to up start next year to have a really smooth start of school.
“In addition, I’d like to expand the reach into the community a bit more by responding to feedback we had on our community survey by doing a lot of listening and meeting with families, parents and students.”
Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.