School board extends superintendent's contract

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Gene Schmidt, left, and Assistant Superintendent Phil Valdez talk Jan. 21 at the district's offices in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education has voted to extend Superintendent Gene Schmidt’s contract for two years based on his performance in his first year in the position.

Board members approved a two-year extension to Schmidt’s contract during a board meeting on Feb. 25, extending it through June 30, 2019, according to Board President Kyle Rhodes. Schmidt's contract had been scheduled to end June 30, 2017.

Schmidt started working for the district on May 1, 2015, when he was selected from a pool of five candidates to replace former Superintendent Janel Ryan after she retired in December 2014. He was previously the superintendent for Los Alamos Public Schools.

Schmidt’s annual salary of $150,000 with benefits did not change, Rhodes said.

Schmidt said the evaluation process was very through and thoughtful, and he said he was proud of the work he has accomplished in the first 10 months.

“I’m happy to be part of the Farmington (schools),” Schmidt said.

As part of the evaluation process, each board member completed a form reviewing several aspects of Schmidt's performance, including student performance and his vision for the district.

Rhodes said all five board members, including himself, were happy with Schmidt's performance as superintendent.

“The job he has been doing is exemplary,” Rhodes said. “Our board is extremely pleased with how Gene is guiding the district.”

The board members wanted to give Schmidt a two-year contract extension as a sign of confidence to implement projects that require additional time like the strategic planning process, Rhodes said.

“We know that for a person of that position, they need to have some sort of longevity,” Rhodes said. “More of an extended contract, a lot of time to get programs in place.”

Rhodes cited some highlights of Schmidt’s tenure thus far, including the creation of the superintendent’s parent advisory council, helping develop San Juan College High School and working on the proposed Farmington family school program.

As for the future, Schmidt said he is focused on a potential $1 million budget shortfall caused by a drop in enrollment and focusing on improving student academic achievement.

“I’m very excited about the work the district is doing to develop future leaders,” Schmidt said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.