A Mora superintendent who faked his educator license credentials officially resigned last Friday, a week and a half after surrendering his license to the state Public Education Department. The Board of Education for the Mora Independent School District released a statement on the same day criticizing Charles Trujillo, who was named superintendent just earlier this year. “We express our deep disappointment that Mr. Trujillo chose to use deception and counterfeit to ultimately obtain his employment with the School District by utilizing an elaborate hoax, and the Board (h)as now acted to bring these lies to a final conclusion,” the school board wrote, as reported by Las Vegas Optic. “The Board of Education shares your concerns and that of the New Mexico Department of Public Education (“PED”) with regard to the reprehensible conduct of Mr. Trujillo who while employed with PED falsely obtain(ed) licensure and regarding the subsequent use of public funds used to pay for his salary by school districts since the PED issued his unearned licenses.”
The newspaper called the board’s action a “major shift,” noting that the board president did not take the charges seriously when he was first notified about the discrepancies. When the Optic first informed George Trujillo that it would be publishing a story that Charles Trujillo had faked his credentials in order to obtain his administrative license, George Trujillo issued a statement supporting Charles Trujillo and chalking the Optic’s story up to “small town politics.” Trujillo’s fallout comes after a Las Vegas Optic investigation published last month that revealed his faulty credentials.
A second state Public Education Department employee is claiming she previously raised concerns about the faked credentials of a high-level administrator. Susan Benavidez, who worked in the agency’s licensure bureau until last month, released a statement to media today corroborating another employee’s recent claims about Charles Trujillo. Benavidez also said she raised her own concerns, which “fell on deaf ears.” Trujillo, the superintendent of Mora Independent Schools District, was the subject of a Las Vegas Optic investigation that revealed he faked his credentials to get an educator license from PED. Trujillo also headed PED’s licensure bureau in 2013.
A consultant with the state Public Education Department is denying reports that she signed off on a top administrator’s fraudulent transcript to obtain an administrative state license. In a statement to media released this afternoon, Michelle Lewis said she never took part in “what appears [to be a] a scheme to assist in something that could compromise my integrity.”
Related Story: A second employee stepped forward to corroborate Lewis’ statement. “I state unequivocally that I did not sign, nor did I lend my signature to any of the documents relative to the licenses in question,” Lewis said. Lewis also said she warned her supervisors and PED’s ethics bureau about discrepancies in Trujillo’s license “well over a year ago.”
Her name appeared over the weekend in an explosive Las Vegas Optic investigation that revealed Charles E. Trujillo, the superintendent of Mora Independent Schools District, faked his educator credentials in order to qualify for his current job. In 2013, Trujillo worked at PED in charge of the proper issuance of very things he faked documents to receive—state educator licenses.