LOCAL NEWS

Piper Resigns School Board Position After 14-Month Stint

Former Board Member Tooley Vying to Succeed His Successor

 

By Tony A. Archuleta

HERALD Reporter

Randy Piper has resigned his position on the Truth or Consequences School Board reportedly due to his hiring as superintendent of schools in Lordsburg.

Superintendent Tom Burris last week announced the school district is currently “soliciting interested persons to fill a vacant school board seat created by Randy Piper’s resignation from the board.”

Piper’s successor will fill the position until the next election in February 2013.

The board of education, consisting of President Jay Johnson, Vice President Ann Filosa, Secretary Cathy Vickers and Louis Schwab, will be responsible for making the selection.

The board has 45 days from the effective date of Piper’s resignation to appoint a new board member. After that, the secretary of the state Public Education Department will make the appointment, according to a public notice released by Burris.

Individuals interested in succeeding Piper on the board are invited to submit a letter of interest and list of qualifications to the superintendent’s office. The submission deadline is Tuesday, May 14, at noon.

Piper, who defeated 16-year incumbent board member Paul Tooley in the February 2011 election, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Piper was elected to the board the same year as Johnson, who defeated four-year incumbent Lydia Bamonte.

Piper and Johnson rode a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment on their way to office. They were the beneficiaries of strong support from former Arrey Elementary principal Susan Taylor.

In 2010, Taylor resigned from the district and landed an administrative post at Hatch Valley schools, following what she called a demotion from principal at Arrey to assistant principal at Truth or Consequences Elementary.

Taylor was not immediately available for comment either, but she presumably views Piper’s resignation as a political setback.

With Filosa recently announcing her intention not to seek reelection in 2013, Taylor was no doubt hoping to bolster Piper and Johnson’s political clout on the board.

Bamonte, reached by phone Monday, said she was aware of Piper’s resignation, but has yet to decide whether to apply for the post.

“My husband (Edward) and I have been talking about it and praying about it, and haven’t quite gotten an answer,” Bamonte said. “I have pondered it, let’s put it that way.”

Bamonte said she’s reluctant to get back into the political fray of elected office, “But it’s also been hard to see what’s happening with the schools.”

Tooley, who was the longtime board president before Piper ousted him, said Monday that he had already submitted his application.

“I have turned in a letter to the school,” said Tooley, who was in Albuquerque as his daughter, Karah, a senior at HSHS, participated in the state golf tournament.

Asked if he was surprised by Piper’s resignation, Tooley replied, “Not really, all things considered.”

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