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A question about Hanna Skandera’s confirmation

By   /   February 21, 2011  /   No Comments

Hanna Skandera, Secretary designate, NM Public Education Dept

A story from Associated Press reports that Hanna Skandera’s appointment as Secretary of the Public Education Department is being questioned by at least one Senate Democrat because the state’s Constitution requires that a potential secretary for the department must be a “qualified, experienced educator.”

Although Skandera was instrumental in implementing school reforms in Florida, she has never been a teacher or school administrator. “I don’t think we should just close our eyes to that issue,” Sen. Michael Sanchez (D-Belen) said to AP. Sanchez is a member of the Senate Rules Committee, which is about to hold confirmation hearings for Skandera and other cabinet nominees from Gov. Susana Martinez.

However, another Democrat on the committee — Sen. Tim Jennings – told AP the Rules Committee should give deference to the governor’s picks for top state jobs in most instances. “The governor ought to be able to put together her team,” said Jennings.

The Rules Committee is made up of six Democrats and three Republicans.

Scott Darnell, spokesman for Gov. Martinez, said in a statement: “In the past, the Legislature has made a distinction between an educator and teacher, with educators being inclusive of administrators and teachers. In this case, Skandera’s experience addresses both as she has played a direct role in crafting education policy as well as in classroom instruction.”

To read the complete AP story, click here.


Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.

  • http://nmwatchdog Carlos

    This sounds like a story of another unqualified appointee.. I bet their friends with someone within the NM Corrections Dept.

  • Dave Thomson

    Skandara will be Mau-Maued out of the job by the teacher’s union as she is a threat – especially now with the rucus in Wisconsin. The union is under threat and will fight any reforms.

  • Ken Pearce

    It is obvious to most of us that our educational system has many drawbacks. One of them is that colleges throughout the country are turning out borderline or unqualified teachers who are kept in teaching positions based on tenure. Then later some beome administrators. It is a wonderful breath of fresh air to have a professional non-educator in place to change our outdated system. Additionally the ‘union’ (NEA et al) has created many other problems which a professional non-educator can begin to remedy. It has now been shown that the set of qualifications for a Cabinet position need to be updated.


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