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San Francisco Administrator Chosen to Lead Albuquerque Schools

Luis Valentino, a top administrator in the San Francisco Unified School District, will be the next superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools.

Valentino, who has served as associate superintendent of curriculum/chief academic officer in the San Francisco Unified School District since 2012, was selected on Saturday from a group of three finalists to lead the 88,000-student Albuquerque school district.

The decision capped off a months-long search to find a permanent leader for New Mexico's largest public school system.

Valentino will take over from interim superintendent Brad Winter on July 1. The school board and Valentino are still negotiating a contract, which they hope to approve at the board's meeting this week.

"The board believes that Dr. Valentino has the right combination of professional experience, ability and vision to lead the Albuquerque Public Schools to even greater success than it has enjoyed in the past," Don Duran, the school board president, said in a district-issued statement after the appointment.

Albuquerque's last permanent superintendent, Winston Brooks, and the district abruptly parted ways last August without clearly detailing the reasons why they severed ties.

As part of a settlement agreement, the board paid Brooks $350,000 to buy out the remaining two years of his contract.

Earlier this year, Brooks sued the district, alleging that Winter, the interim superintendent, had violated the settlement agreement, which barred the district and Brooks from making disparaging statements about each other.

Valentino has a doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of California Los Angeles, a master's degree in educational administration from Pepperdine University, and a master's degree in instructional technology from the California State University, according to the district.

Prior to his appointment in San Francisco, he worked as director of school services in Los Angeles Unified.

He started his career as a teacher in LA Unified and worked his way up to assistant principal and principal, according to the biographical information and résumé provided by the district. 

The district said that 59 candidates applied for the superintendent position.

The three finalists, Valentino, Almudena Abeyta, a deputy superintendent at Santa Fe Public Schools, and Michael Cardona, chief school officer for the Houston Independent School District, met with parents, faculty and the community last week.

After approving Valentino's appointment, the board issued a separate letter to the new superintendent welcoming him to the district and to the community.

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