October 21, 2015

Embattled Mora superintendent gives up license

The embattled superintendent at Mora Independent Schools surrendered his education licenses following a report that found he faked credentials to get the position.

ThinkingThe allegations against Charles Trujillo were first reported by the Las Vegas Optic following a months-long investigation.

After the report, multiple media outlets, including New Mexico Political Report, followed up on the report. One Public Education Department employee whose signature was on some of the faked credentials said she did not sign the papers and that she had raised concerns about Trujillo’s credentials to PED officials “well over a year ago.”

PED spokesman Robert McEntyre acknowledged to media outlets Tuesday that the document with Lewis’ signature doesn’t appear to be authentic. The agency also said the matter is under investigation.

“When we learned of the claims against Superintendent Charles Trujillo, we immediately launched an investigation and began working with State Police,” McEntyre said in a statement to the media on Tuesday. “This afternoon, Superintendent Trujillo has agreed to surrender his education licenses.”

Trujillo will not be able to continue as superintendent of the school district without the licenses.

Trujillo is no stranger from the licenses; before becoming superintendent of Mora Independent Schools, he was in charge of state educator licenses at PED.

Trujillo is also not the only controversial high-level state education official with license problems. In a public records request filed earlier this year by New Mexico Political Report, PED didn’t retrieve any state administrator licenses or application licenses from former Albuquerque Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez.

Martinez left his job in August just before New Mexico Political Report revealed he was facing a trial for alleged sexual assault of a child. This revelation, along with the lack of a background check by APS, helped lead to the resignation of APS Superintendent Luis Valentino earlier this year.

PED has been criticized for educator licensure discrepancies in the past. In 2011, the Santa Fe Reporter found discrepancies in the licenses of two administrators who worked at the agency itself.

In 2012, the Reporter wrote about an internal PED investigation looked into similar allegations. PED eventually dismissed those concerns as unfounded.

Joey Peters contributed to this report.