For the News-Sun
LOVINGTON – During Tuesday’s Lovington Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools LeAnne Gandy announced her retirement.
“I want to share the news that I plan to retire from the Lovington School District on Aug. 1,” gandy said. “I am eternally grateful to the community and the school board for allowing me to have had the opportunity to serve the Loving-ton community for 19 years.”
Gandy began with Lovington Schools as the assistant superintendent, and was selected as interim superintendent in 2015. Later, she was named superintendent.
During the last seven years as Lovington’s superintendent, Gandy led the district in improving academics and increasing the graduation rate, and also fulfilled the board’s goals of acquiring teacher housing and the district ownership of the transportation services to benefit the students and community, she said.
The final goal she had was to return nutritional services from an outside contractor to district management, and the board voted in favor of the plan for returning the nutritional services to district control in Tuesday night’s May meeting.
For the last two years, Gandy has led the district in dealing with the impacts of public health mandates and restrictions in response to the COVID pandemic. With little guidance or notice from PED, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s directive to move to remote instruction was a challenge for Gandy and the district, she said.
Gandy led the effort to return to in-person learning during the pandemic and successfully and safely returned students and staff to the classroom.
“During the pandemic, I saw our district’s talented leadership team work ti relessly and creatively to implement strategies that brought our students and staff together,” she said. “I have witnessed our teachers and classified staff members deliver high quality instruction and support for every student during that challenging time.”
Due to the challenges of restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning for students, Gandy sought to re-engage the community by developing with the board and the administrative team a strategic plan specific to increasing academic and addressing the social emotional needs of students, she said. Stakeholder collaboration at community forums and board work sessions culminated in a road map of priorities for students’ educational needs.
During Tuesday’s board meeting, Gandy shared with the board the continued work on a three-tier salary pay system that is one of the highest in the state.
“I believe we must retain and recruit quality educators, and with the board’s approval, we have demonstrated our commitment to our staff,” said Gandy. She also said this is a top priority for her as superintendent.
Gandy said she remains dedicated to strengthening and implementing the board’s collective vision until her retirement on Aug. 1.
“We have great plans for the upcoming school year, including community learning opportunities and the salary increases to reward all of our staff.” Gandy told the board, “After much reflection, I believe this is the right time.”
Gandy said she looks forward to pursuing opportunities to support public education.