Public Schools Superintendent Jerrett Perry Retiring Alamogordo Schools Rankings for 2021

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Alamogordo Public Schools Superintendent Jerrett Perry has announced his retirement effective Dec. 17, 2021. The Alamogordo School Board held a special meeting to June 22 to announce Perry's retirement.

At their regular meeting on Jan. 16, 2019 the APS Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Perry on as superintendent. He had been the former Athletic Director for Alamogordo High School. Perry was named acting superintendent after embattled former Superintendent Adrianne Salas submitted her letter of resignation in September,2018. She went on extended leave from Sept. 5 until Dec.1.  Her resignation came after Alamogordo High School and Oregon Elementary  received F grades from the state Public Education Department.

Perry graduated from Silver High School in 1988. He attended New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M. on a football scholarship before transferring to New Mexico State University then graduating in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. He went back to NMSU for his Master of Arts degree in Education Administration that he received in 2004.

He also went to the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders at the University of New Mexico 2013-2014 Inspiring Superintendent Academy where he studied superintendent preparation and development.

From his days as a student athlete at Silver High School to becoming the superintendent for the Tigers, his journey has taken him to Carrizozo where he served as both vice principal and principal, Capitan High School principal and athletic director. He was also a coach in Deming and Ruidoso before coming to Alamogordo.

In 2017, Perry was named Class 5A Athletic Director of the Year from the New Mexico Activities Association.

Perry's tenure in leadership had not been without controversy.  In August 2020 the Alamogordo School Board was faced with a petition calling for his resignation. 

According to news reported by Nicole Maxwell of the Alamogordo Daily News, published August 19, 2020...

In released statement the Alamogordo Public Schools Board of Education reiterated support for Superintendent Jerrett Perry and Deputy Superintendent Cara Malone in response to an online petition which called for both to step down.

The statement came after a change.org petition was shared on social media  that claimed unprofessional behavior from both Perry and Malone. 

The petition description stated that "Malone has become a tyrant and dictator in the Alamogordo Public School district" and that Perry "remains silent unless an opportunity arises and can capture moments for his own political gain."

"It is unfortunate that during a worldwide pandemic, an individual would use a social media platform to incite distraction and divisiveness," the release stated.

"This act instills a false narrative without reference to specific issues and ultimately negatively impacts our students, schools and community."

The article by Nicole Maxwell continued...

School board officials said they would not acknowledge the petition or its creators.

"Superintendent Perry and the administrative team have demonstrated integrity, professionalism, dedication and strong resolve during this unprecedented time," the board stated.

"The Alamogordo Public Schools Board of Education is united in support of Superintendent Perry."

As of Aug. 18, the petition had more than 300 signatures.

Angela Scrivner, a former attendance secretary at Alamogordo High School who filed a complaint to the Alamogordo Public Schools Board of Education through the National Educators Association Alamogordo and a complaint against the district to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said she puts her support behind the petition.

In the complaint, Scrivner alleges a toxic work environment which led her to terminate her employment with Alamogordo Public Schools. Scrivner worked as an attendance secretary at Alamogordo High School from October 2018 until August 2020.

The Alamogordo School Board and Superintendent Perry were most recently involved in additional controversy around the debate on Transgendered sports issues.

The Alamogordo Public School board workshop session scheduled for last Saturday was canceled after the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico issued a warning amid talk of “protecting biological female athletes.” It came at a time when there is a nationwide fight for trans youth for the right to participate in sports as the gender they identify as, not the gender they were born with.

Per the ACLU...

The ACLU grew concerned after receiving word of the workshop and wrote the board a letter that if the district were to ban transgender youth from participating that would be a violation of federal and state laws.

“This is really not about transgender youth this is a political tactic that we are seeing being utilized nationwide to divide our communities generate unnecessary outrage and motivate political supporters,” said Executive Director of the ACLU-NM Peter Simonson.

Per an ACLU Press Release:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico today sent a letter to members of the Alamogordo Public School Board of Education, the superintendent's office, and the athletics department, advising them that a proposed policy that would ban trans youth from participating in sports could violate state and federal law. The letter also advises that the policy would make it difficult for trans students to thrive and feel safe at school.

“This proposed policy not only runs counter to state and federal law, but it also creates a hostile environment for trans youth,” said Legal Director at the ACLU of New Mexico Leon Howard. “Trans youth should never have to fear going to school or participating in a meaningful activity just because of who they are. They should be able to attend school in an environment that is safe, welcoming, and affirming.”

The United States Supreme Court held in 2020, in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that discriminating against someone on the basis of them being transgender or queer runs afoul of the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. The federal government, as of March 2021, determined the reasoning of this opinion logically applies to other provisions of the Civil Rights Act, like Title IX, which applies to schools. Similarly, the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) explicitly provides that gender identity and sex are protected from discrimination in matters of employment, housing, credit, union membership, and at public accommodations. Athletic and Extracurricular activities fall within the definition of public accommodations under the NMHRA.

“Trans children already face extreme hardships that stem from coordinated attacks on their very existence and continued discrimination they face at almost every turn,” said Howard. “The Alamogordo Public School Board should consider the deep harm that this policy would enact and, rather than choosing to make trans children’s lives more difficult, take measures to ensure they can live in dignity.”

In the letter, the ACLU urges the Alamogordo Public School Board to immediately pull this proposed resolution and make public that this has been done; make clear in a public form that the resolution was ill-advised and illegal; publish a document, signed by the School Board, clarifying that the district welcomes, supports, and affirms trans students of all kinds; and engage in trans-specific sensitivity training as a Board, and make this training available to district staff as well.

A copy of the letter sent by the ACLU is in the link

https://www.aclu-nm.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/aclu_nm_demand_letter_aps_anti_trans_youth_proposal_6.22.21.pdf

The school board cancelled the workshop and the proposed statement by the school board is now not being issued. 

While not legally binding, the resolution echoed many of the arguments seen in various states’ bills.

“The Board of Education of Alamogordo Public Schools supports the protection of girls by prohibiting the participation by students of the biological male sex on an athletic team designated for females, women or girls,” the resolution states.

The Albuquerque Journal reported they obtained a copy of the resolution through a public records request.

The move came as dozens of state legislatures considered similar bills that restrict which teams transgender students can join. Supporters of the bills say many transgender students of the biological male sex are physically stronger than girls, giving them an unfair advantage. Opponents argue these bills can exacerbate isolation and mental health issues that disproportionately impact transgender students.

Per the Albuquerque Journal

Emails from district officials show state Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, wrote the resolution. Cook had sponsored a similar bill, House Bill 304, which was swiftly tabled by committee Democrats, in the last regular session.

Cook said he wrote the resolution at the request of Amy Barela, New Mexico Republican Party Congressional District 2 vice chair. Emails also show Barela sent the resolution to Board President Angela Cadwallader on April 6, urging her to take it on.

The ACLU asked Alamogordo Public School officials to pull the resolution and "make clear in a public form that the resolution was ill-advised and illegal," though the district simply cancelled the work session.

The School board announced only that they cancelled the workshop without other comment from Perry nor the school board.  

The only action from the school board since this issue was to g into the special, session which Perry had requested, and during that special session the announcement was made of his resignation. 

The Alamogordo School District is a difficult district to administer as it has shrinking enrollment due to competition from the many private faith based institutions that have sprung up the past several decades. The school system was ranked in the top 10 in the nation during the mid 60s to early 70s and was one of the highest paying districts in the country for teachers pay. Since then, the district has shuttered many programs, enrollment has shrunk and the rankings have fallen significantly. 

Per the US News and World Report which ranks all schools in the US. Alamogordo High is ranked 40th within New Mexico. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement® coursework and exams. The AP® participation rate at Alamogordo High is 31%. The total minority enrollment is 52%, and 51% of students are economically disadvantaged.

Alamogordo High School now ranks 6754 in the national rankings, quite a fall from the top 10 in the nation. But the public is becoming more involved in understanding the fall and is demanding answers for their students. Students of this decade do indeed deserve an education equal to or better than those in the region from the 60s and 70s. The search will soon begin for a new superintendent with a goal of raising those standards back to historical standards. 


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