New Mexico

N.M. Public Education Department investigating LCPS staff credentials

PED investigating LCPS credentials

The New Mexico Public Education Department is investigating the credentials of four Las Cruces Public Schools employees, ABC-7 has confirmed with the department.

State Spokeswoman Lida Alikhani released this statement:

“The PED is investigating the hiring process and current licensure status of the following individuals: Vicki Campos, LCPS executive director of online learning; Will Manning, LCPS procurement officer; Matthew Dawkins, LCPS director of Information Technology and Melissa Zuniga, LCPS controller."

District Chief of Staff Taryn Landin insists the employees in her district are credentialed and have been vetted by the human resources department. 

"We submit all of those employees and their credentials to PED," Landin said. "PED has never sent us any communication that they have any concerns about their credentialing."

This is how the employee's current credentials compare to what's required for their position, according to PED.

  • Vicki Campos, Executive Director of Online Learning
    • Needs a level 3B admin license to supervise an instructional program based on the description of the role, according to PED
    • Has a Pre K-12 license TESOL, Modern & Classical Languages and Gifted Endorsement Level 3A, according to PED
    • Selected for the position in March 2018, according to the district
  • Will Manning, LCPS Procurement Officer
    • Needs a School Business Official license, based on description of the role, according to PED
    • Has no license, according to PED
    • Selected for the position in March 2016, according to the district
  • Matthew Darkins, LCPS Director of Information Technology
    • No license required, but an "endorsement" is required, according to PED
    • Has no license, according to PED
    • Selected for the position in September 2017, according to the district
  • Melissa Zuniga, LCPS Controller
    • ​​​​​​​Needs School Business Official License, based on description of the role, according to PED
    • She's renewing her license, which expired on June 30, 2017, according to PED
    • Selected for the position in August 2016, according to the district

New Mexico statute says that employees have 90 days to gain the necessary licenses for their state position, Alikhani said.

ABC-7 made Landin aware of the investigation late Tuesday, after the interview. Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing was not available for comment.

“It’s very important for us to have qualified and credentialed people in the district, particularly the educators who are in the schools and dealing directly with students and families every day," Landin said.

The chief of staff confirmed the district will follow up with the state to clarify any discrepancies.

“The issue is brought to our attention and we do take it very seriously," Landin said.

ABC-7 Reporter Mauricio Casillas contributed to this report.


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