Dr. Arsenio Romero Confirmed New PED Cabinet Secretary

Dr. Arsenio Romero

PED News:

Ready to “Steer the Ship” of New Mexico’s Education

SANTA FE – Dr. Arsenio Romero is New Mexico’s top education leader. It was made official Wednesday when lawmakers confirmed him as the cabinet secretary for the Public Education Department.

“Sec. Romero has lived the education experience as a student, teacher and leader,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “His expansive resume speaks for itself during this crucial moment as we increase student outcomes and elevate New Mexico education on the national stage. I look forward to seeing his continued innovation and inspiration at play as he makes changes in our public education system.”

“He is the kind of thinker we need now,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, calling him “visionary” and someone who is “laser-focused on student achievement.”

Romero, who said he is here for the “long haul” credited his mother, a first-grade teacher, as inspiring him to walk the education journey.

“I am right where I want and need to be,” he said. “I understand the vast cultural capital that exists in our state and know that our children will not succeed in spite of where they come from, but rather they will succeed because of where they come from.”

Using data to inform decision-making, Romero plans to boost graduation rates. His key areas of focus will be on Career and Technical Education, Structured Literacy and promoting the learning of other languages. He also aims to enhance teacher recruitment and retention and build connections with the Early Childhood Education and Care and Higher Education departments.

The new education secretary, appointed by Gov. Lujan Grisham, started work March 4. Today’s confirmation on the Senate floor was preceded by a unanimous vote in the Senate Rules Committee. 

Romero replaces interim Public Education Cabinet Secretary Mariana Padilla who stepped in after Dr. Kurt Steinhaus retired in late January. Padilla will continue to support PED in her role as Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Children’s Cabinet director.

A native New Mexican, the new cabinet secretary has spent the last quarter-century serving New Mexico communities as a school and district leader. Prior to his appointment as Public Education Department secretary-designate, Romero served as superintendent of Los Lunas Schools and superintendent and CEO of Deming Public Schools.

As assistant superintendent for instruction and transformation for the Roswell Independent School District, Romero oversaw curriculum. And since 2013, he has been a lead performance coach/executive coach for PED. He started his career in education as an elementary school teacher and principal for Las Cruces Public Schools. In addition, he taught at New Mexico State University since 2014 and joined the NMSU Board of Regents in 2020. Romero’s greatest source of pride is his family. He and his wife Amber, an educator, are the proud parents of four children. All were present during Wednesday’s confirmation.

Those who spoke on behalf of his confirmation called him optimistic and realistic lifetime learner, as well as an honest collaborator who is student- and family-centered.

“At the end of the day, he makes the best decisions for students,” said Deborah Elder, interim superintendent of Los Lunas Schools, where she served under Romero. “We could not be in better hands.”

Amanda Aragon, executive director of NewMexicoKidsCAN stated: “He is absolutely the right person to lead us forward. He is personally invested in this.”

Joe Guillen, executive director of the New Mexico School Boards Association, applauded the new education secretary’s professional and vast experience.

“His leadership and ability to build consensus among diverse stakeholders is well known throughout education circles, as is his ability to serve as a spokesman and advocate on key educational issues,” Guillen said. “New Mexico’s 89 school boards look forward to working closely with Secretary Romero.”

During support on the senate floor, Sen. Linda Lopez expressed her appreciation of his ongoing work in public education.

“I know that your heart is with our children, with our communities,” she said.

Sec. Romero’s bio


ladailypost.com website support locally by OviNuppi Systems