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FARMINGTON — The Aztec school board has approved an extension of Superintendent Kirk Carpenter’s contract through the 2018-2019 school year.

The Aztec Municipal School District Board of Education voted during its Jan. 12 meeting to extend Carpenter’s contract through June 30, 2019, according to board President Wayne Ritter.

Carpenter has been the superintendent since November 2009, according to The Daily Times archives. He was selected after former Superintendent Linda Paul stepped down to become the executive director of the New Mexico Leadership Institute.

Carpenter said he found the decision by the board members to be very humbling. He added that he is surrounded by district administrators who are great leaders.

“It’s nice to have the confidence of the board,” Carpenter said. “They believe in the direction we are going as a district.”

Carpenter's annual salary will remain about $116,870, according to the board's resolution.

For Ritter, it was important to keep Carpenter on board to keep district operations stable as school districts statewide grapple with budget issues, including the loss of state funding.

“The whole board felt very confident in how his leadership is going,” Ritter said.

Board member Ryan Lane said Carpenter has the best interests of the students at heart. He believes the district is lucky to have him as superintendent.

There are several initiatives that Carpenter and district officials are working on. Those include monitoring the district’s two proposed solar energy projects that are projected to save the district money in electricity costs.

One of the projects the district is working on is to install 10 solar panel systems at a number of district schools and also to construct a solar generation system on land next to McCoy Elementary School.

District officials are working with San Juan College to offer more dual-credit classes for Aztec High School students at Vista Nueva High School.

The district is developing a certified nurse aide program for Vista Nueva High School, Carpenter said.

Vista Nueva operates in a building at 315 S. Ash St. that also houses the San Juan College East campus.

One of the dual-credit programs Carpenter mentioned was bringing courses from the instrumentation and controls technology program at the San Juan College School of Energy to Aztec High for students to take.

He believes students will benefit by receiving an education that prepares them for a career right out of high school. The college credits that students earn will help them earn a certification or they can transfer to San Juan College or another higher education institution to continue their education.

Carpenter said he is optimistic the district can also include an internship program that could tie in with the proposed dual-credit classes.

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

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