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Ray Jaramillo said his decision to resign March 9 from the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education was made in the “best interests of the district, the new superintendent, my fellow board members and especially my family.”
Jaramillo said he decided to resign after receiving a phone call from LCPS Superintendent Ralph Ramos during which Ramos told Jaramillo he had decided to retire as superintendent, effective April 7.
“If Ralph was still there, I’d still probably be there,” Jaramillo said. “Ralph and I made a connection. We worked hard to develop a relationship that I thought was good for the district.”
After talking with his wife and children following Ramos’ phone call, “I had to resign,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo has participated in three LCPS superintendent searches, including two as a member of the school board, and said he did not want to be part of another search. That, along with family health issues and his purchase of Alpha School, Inc., prompted his resignation.
Alpha School, where Jaramillo was employed for nearly 30 years before purchasing the business last year, has 36 employees, along with 150 preschoolers “who need my full attention,” Jaramillo said.
“There’s a lot of things I’m going to miss” not being on the board, Jaramillo said, but “making sure my family is healthy and making sure my business is successful,” are his top priorities, he said.
Jaramillo was elected to the LCPS board in 2017 without opposition. He was re-elected in 2021, receiving 55 percent of the vote in a campaign during which he did not accept campaign contributions, advertise or put up yard signs.
Jaramillo served as board president 2021-22, helping guide LCPS through COVID-19, the death of Superintendent Karen Trujillo and the selection of Ramos as interim and then permanent superintendent, the resignation and replacement of former school board member Terrie Dallman and dissention over school district policy.
“I think I provided some stability on the board,” Jaramillo said.
“That was very close to my heart,” Jaramillo said of the gender-inclusive policy adopted by the school board during his tenure. “Making sure all children are safe” has been another top priority, he said, along with getting Columbia Elementary School rebuilt and open.
Jaramillo said he will continue to be an advocate for early childhood education.
Jaramillo said his goal for LCPS is “to leave the district in a better place than when I came, and I think that will happen,” he said.
Jaramillo said the other members of the LCPS board were “very supportive” of his decision to resign from the board.
“They saw how thin I was stretched,” he said.
Jaramillo said he hopes LCPS will find a new superintendent who is “passionate about education,” understands relationships, can “bring people together for education” and “respects and honors the people in the classroom and classified staff as well.”
“Ralph (Ramos) was great at it,” Jaramillo said. “Ralph was visible. He was everywhere. He had passion for the job.
“He’s done everything we asked him to do,” Jaramillo said of Ramos.
The two “listened to and respected each other,” Jaramillo said. “I think that’s what’s needed. That’s what’s missing in school board-superintendent relationships.”
His advice to his replacement on the school board: “Know what you’re getting into. It can be very rewarding at times and it can be very lonely,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo became an LCPS volunteer in 2007 and was elected president of the parent-teacher organization at Jornada Elementary School, which his son and daughter attended. The principal at the time was Arsenio Romero, who has just been named by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as secretary of the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Jaramillo is the author of the children’s book “Gust, Gust, Gust!” and is at work on a second children’s book.