Kirk Carpenter
Kirk Carpenter (Courtesy of Twitter)

FARMINGTON — Two Aztec Municipal School District administrators were honored Friday during a statewide conference for New Mexico schools.

The New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders recognized Aztec Director of Technology Nathan Holmes and Superintendent Kirk Carpenter during an awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Albuquerque.

"I am both humbled and honored to have received this recognition, but the outstanding individuals on my team deserve it much more than I do," Holmes said in an email. "Sometimes the hard work, dedication, countless hours and efforts by our staff to help all students and staff learn in the best way possible go unnoticed or get overshadowed by other information."

Holmes was awarded the Outstanding Leader award from the New Mexico Society for Technology in Action, and Carpenter took home the Superintendent of the Year award from the New Mexico School Superintendents' Association.

Both organizations are affiliates of the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders, formerly known as the New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators.

Carpenter said it was difficult for him to put into words how much Holmes contributes to the school district.

"He doesn't sleep. He's constantly trying to improve the district for kids first," Carpenter said.

Holmes manages the district's technology and network, provides professional development to district personnel and keeps teachers educated about technology.

Carpenter traveled to the conference to celebrate Holmes' award and was unaware he was going to be presented with the superintendent of the year award.

"Obviously, a lot of people knew about it before I did," Carpenter said. "It's one of the highest honors in my education career."

Carpenter said the award means a lot to him because fellow superintendents across the state decide the annual winner, and it was presented by his mentor, Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Janel Ryan.

Ryan said Carpenter deserved the award for helping school districts understand the state's A to F school grading system and the upcoming teacher evaluation system.

"Kirk was never afraid to ask the hard questions and expect an answer from leadership," Ryan said. "He always wanted answers for us, sending superintendents any information he got, not only working hard for his school district but the superintendents of New Mexico."

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.