CCSD board rescinds interim superintendent appointment, names another interim leader

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Less than a week after naming Rebecca Benedict as interim superintendent of the Central Consolidated School District, school board members have rescinded her appointment and named a new interim superintendent.

The board appointed Benedict as interim superintendent on March 3, the same day they put Superintendent Daniel Benavidez on administrative leave because they did not renew his contract.

They did not give any reason for reversing Benedict's appointment during the special meeting on March 7 and had talked about the matter in executive session before voting unanimously to rescind the appointment.

Before adjourning the meeting, they named Judy Nelson Elementary Principal Steve Carlson as interim superintendent.

Judy Nelson Elementary Principal Steve Carlson was named CCSD interim superintendent by Board of Education members on March 7.

Voting in favor of Carlson's appointment were board President Marion Wells, Vice President Suzette Haskie and members Christina J. Aspaas and Gary Montoya while Secretary Cheryl George abstained.

CCSD spokesperson Jerrod Noble explained that Benedict will resume her role as principal of Kirtland Central High School.

"That's a limited personnel matter that we're unable to answer," Noble said in response to a question about why the board rescinded Benedict's appointment.

Carlson will begin his role as interim superintendent immediately and "will continue to carry his leadership to meet the needs of students in the district as interim superintendent," Noble said.

Benavidez had been with the district since 2020 and had agreed to a two-year contract.

As part of the board's action on March 3, they agreed to continue paying Benavidez's salary and benefits as scheduled until his contract ends on June 30.

Noble said the amount that CCSD will pay to Benavidez was not available.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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