LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - In an interview with ABC-7, the new interim superintendent of Las Cruces Public Schools said she wants to restore trust in the school district.
“I think the biggest piece of restoring trust is really being available, making sure that you’re listening and that you’re accessible," said Dr. Karen Trujillo, who was appointed to the new role on Tuesday night. (Watch the entire interview in the video player below.)
"She was everything that we were looking for in a superintendent," said Ray Jaramillo, the school board member for district one. "She understands the importance of relationships. She has a wonderful work effort."
She's had an incredibly busy year. In January, Trujillo became chairwoman of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners.
Just weeks later, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed the Las Cruces native to lead the state's Public Education Department. And after six months on the job, the governor abruptly fired Trujillo because her "expectations were not met in a number of areas."
“Being up in Santa Fe, really interacting with all the different moving parts... it’s multi-faceted," Trujillo told ABC-7 on Wednesday. If anything, that led to me being able to ask the right people the right questions, understanding who the experts are in different areas. That’s the strength of building a strong team."
After Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing's sudden resignation this month, Dr. Trujillo will now lead a district of almost 25,000 students and more than 3,000 employees, which has had its fair share of controversies.
“You can only move as fast as trust," Trujillo said, adding "(By) making sure that you’re listening and available to the public, not being defensive, not trying to solve all the problems all at once. Just trying to understand the entire picture."
“Personally, I was really excited," said Denise Sheehan, president of the National Education Association in Las Cruces.
Sheehan told ABC-7 that she wants Trujillo to advocate for a stronger testing system for New Mexican students.
“It all comes down to our students," Sheehan said. "We want to make sure that our students are getting the best quality education."
Trujillo's term as interim superintendent will end on June 30th, 2020, she told ABC-7, however she said she wants to apply for the permanent position this spring.
"I would hope that I'd be a contender," she said.