High school principal resigns

William Thompson:Quay County Sun

Tucumcari High School Principal Gary Salazar submitted a letter of resignation March 1 to Tucumcari Schools.

An employee of the school district for 13 years, Salazar said his duties as principal will end three weeks after the 2004-2005 school year ends.

“I’m not going to grind any axes,” Salazar said. “I feel its time. It’s just time for a change. I’m currently applying for positions at other schools in New Mexico.”

The resignation will be formally announced to the public at the school board meeting on Monday. Salazar said his wife, Theresa Salazar, will continue as principal of Tucumcari Elementary School into the 2005-2006 school year.

Superintendent of Tucumcari schools William Reents said Salazar’s resignation became official March 1 when Reents was handed the letter.

“I respect Gary Salazar and I wish him the best of luck,” Reents said. “That’s all I wish to say at this time.”

School board member Rex Kirksey said the principal’s job is entirely a matter between the superintendent and the principal. The school board has no authority to hire or fire a principal, he said.

“As far as what we can tell, what we see on the surface is what happened,” Kirksey said. “Mr. Salazar is the only one who can say if there is any more to his leaving than what he has already disclosed.”

Martha Whitesides, the high school1s librarian, said the principal’s job is filled with stress.

“Being a principal is the most difficult job in the school district. It1s pure middle management.” Whitesides said. “We’ve had a good working relationship. I’ve felt I could discuss any issue with him. I felt he had real potential for leadership here.”

Salazar has been principal of the high school since October 2002. Assistant Principal Rex Maddaford said he was unprepared for Salazar1s resignation.

“Mr. Salazar and I have worked very well together,” Maddaford said. “It was a surprise to me.”

Salazar said one of the highlights of his tenure as principal was helping coach the 2002 state championship football team. He also said the interaction with students is something he will treasure.

“I’ve had a few students who have come back to me and told me what an impact I made on their lives,” he said.

Clarissa Barreras, a junior at THS, said Salazar was also her middle school principal.
“I think he’s a good person,” Barreras said. “I don1t see why he’s leaving. I remember in middle school we used to laugh and joke with him.”

Salazar was a physical education and social studies teacher at the middle school before becoming principal of the middle school in 2000.

The Tucumcari Board of Education will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday March 21 in the administration building, 2400 S. Eighth St.