March 31, 2016

PED shakeup continues—two more top staffers leave

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Two more top-level employees at the state Public Education Department recently left their jobs, taking the number to at least five since the beginning of the year.

classroomTerese Vigil, who headed the PED’s human resources bureau, left the department in mid-February. Aimee Barabe, director of Strategic Outreach for the department, left around the same time period.

Vigil and Barabe’s exits make at least five resignations from top-level PED staffers since the end of January. The three others were Deputy Secretary for Policy and Program Leighann Lenti, Chief Information Officer Michael Archibeque and National Assessment of Educational Progress and Internal Assessments State Coordinator Stephanie Gardner.

NM Political Report reported on the previous resignations earlier this month.

Vigil declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday morning. She is now a lead payroll administrator at the state Department of Finance and Administration. Barabe similarly landed another state government job as the marketing outreach and partnerships director at the New Mexico Tourism Department.

PED spokesman Robert McEntyre didn’t return an email and phone message left by NM Political Report Wednesday morning. McEntyre also didn’t return email or phone messages when NM Political Report reported on the previous resignations.

Vigil wrote her resignation letter to PED on Jan. 28, the same day Gardner wrote her resignation letter. Vigil and Gardner each worked their last day at the department on Feb. 12. Gardner, the wife of Gov. Susana Martinez’s Chief of Staff Keith Gardner, is now an assistant principal at Albuquerque’s Madison Middle School.

Barabe didn’t submit an official resignation letter, according to a public records request response from PED. But she started at the Tourism Department during the first half of February, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Archibeque sent his resignation letter on Jan. 25 and worked his last day Feb. 10. It’s unclear when Lenti submitted her resignation letter. Her last day was March 14.

NM Political Report first heard rumors of a shakeup in PED in February, but were unable to substantiate the claims until we filed a public records request with the department.

Read Terese Vigil’s resignation letter below:

Terese Vigil Resignation by New Mexico Political Report