SFPS Board Extends Superintendent’s Contract

Hilario “Larry” Chavez hired for three more years

The Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education has renewed a contract through February 2027 for Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez, as well as a $10,000 salary increase from last year’s $200,000 figure.

“The Board of Education’s trust in the superintendent is evident in our decision to extend his contract by the maximum allowable extension of three years,” Board President Sascha Anderson tells SFR after the Jan. 27 vote. “We look forward to continued innovative leadership and a district that values teaching and learning at its core.”

The board evaluated Chavez in a four-hour executive session closed to the public. During the evaluation, Anderson says, each school board member grades the superintendent’s performance on a four-option scale between “unsatisfactory and exemplary” in seven categories, which include board relations; staff relations; community relations; communication; instructional leadership; organizational management and ethics.

Chavez was first selected as superintendent in April 2021, shortly after former superintendent Veronica García announced she would retire after five years in the position.

García was the longest-serving superintendent SFPS had in recent years, following superintendents Joel Boyd (2012-2016), Bobbie Gutierrez (2008-2012), Leslie Carpenter (2005-2008) and Gloria Rendon (2001-2005). Garcia’s retirement from SFPS did not last long, however; she now serves as the chief strategic officer for the school district’s “reimagining” process intended to increase student enrollment, engagement and achievement.

Chavez worked as the district’s associate superintendent of athletics, activities and school support and served as a special education administrator before he was named superintendent.

During his tenure, the district has weathered staff vacancies, low reading and math proficiency and several closed bus routes. However, under Chavez the school district has sharply decreased the teacher vacancy rates through pay incentives, and he has been working with the district’s Reimagining Steering Committee to adopt a policy for school realignment at low-capacity schools. Next, the district plans to expand  bilingual education programs.

“It takes all of us working together to impact students’ lives and our community for the better. We’ve reached milestone after milestone this semester because of this shared vision,” Chavez said in the district’s 2023 State of the Schools video. “Staff and volunteers district-wide have joined together to ensure that efforts far-reach, which includes addressing students’ social-emotional needs.”

The pay increase points to the board’s satisfaction: During last year’s evaluation, the school board extended Chavez’s contract through Feb. 1, 2026, and increased his annual salary to $200,000, a $25,000 raise.

Grace Mayer, the National Education Association’s Santa Fe chapter president, tells SFR she feels positively about the contract renewal, noting that Chavez has been accessible to the union’s members “in all different contexts of our interactions with him” and continuously ensures the district follows the contracts.

“I think he’s been a great asset to the community, and he wants a career here, as opposed to a stepping stone to another position or another job,” Mayer says. “I just think that consistency is what we need to make real progress, not only maintaining a workforce that’s trained and adequate, but also for academic achievement for students.”

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