August 15, 2014

Former Wichita superintendent Winston Brooks resigns top post in Albuquerque amid probe

Winston Brooks, who led Wichita schools for a decade before leaving in 2008, has resigned his post as superintendent of the Albuquerque, N.M., school district.

Winston Brooks, the embattled superintendent of New Mexico’s largest school district and a former superintendent in Wichita, said Friday he has resigned.

The move came after members of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board said they met earlier this week to discuss an investigation of a personnel issue involving Brooks. They declined to elaborate on the issue.

In a joint statement Friday, Brooks and the board said both sides agreed the resignation was the best option for both parties.

“The decision to end the employment relationship will allow both the board and Brooks to establish a new direction,” the statement said. “Both agree that this decision is the best option for APS at this time.”

The Hispano Round Table of New Mexico and the League of United Latin American Citizens applauded the announcement.

The groups “never had so many complaints about abuse of power against women and minorities as we have received from this superintendent,” said Ralph Arellanes, chairman of the round table and president of the New Mexico chapter of Latin American citizens league. “We are appalled that it has taken this school board this long to act.”

Brooks could not be reached Friday for further comment.

Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Chairman Del Archuleta commended the board for its leadership in resolving the issue.

“Administrative matters such as this distract from the primary focus of educating our children,” he said in a statement. “We stand ready to be supportive and urge the school board to maintain their focus on the students.”

The resignation ends a rocky tenure for Brooks, who was suspended for three days last year after he compared the state’s education secretary to livestock in a tweet.

Shortly after his suspension, Brooks was taken to a hospital following a domestic call to Bernalillo County sheriff’s officials. Brooks’ wife, Ann, told authorities her husband was on medication for diabetes and other conditions. She said he hallucinates or becomes paranoid when the medications are not balanced.

Brooks served as Wichita superintendent for about 10 years. He left in 2008 to head public schools in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque district has about 86,000 students and is one of the largest districts in the country.

Contributing: Suzanne Perez Tobias of The Eagle

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