LAS CRUCES — Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Greg Ewing on Monday responded to press reports that four LCPS administrators lack the proper certification for their job titles.
“We have thoroughly investigated these allegations, though we were always confident that all district employees possess the necessary credentials—including education, experience, Public Education Department-issued licenses and certifications for the positions which they hold,” Ewing said. “Our Human Resources Department has a rigorous process in place to ensure that all district employees are adequately qualified for their positions.”
Each district employee is assigned a code which corresponds to his or her position in the PED’s Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System (STARS). That code determines the required certificates or licenses for the job. Three of the four LCPS employees named in recent news accounts each meet all of the requirements laid out by the state. The fourth holds an expired license, but has applied for renewal through the state.
- Vicki Campos, Executive Director of Online Learning: While Campos holds a Level 3A teaching license with endorsements in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Modern and Classical Languages and Gifted, it is not specifically required for her current position. Her teaching license is valid through 2026. She is coded in STARS as a 120, Supervisor or Director of Information Technology.
- Will Manning, Procurement Officer: As a procurement officer for the district, no licenses or credentials are required (STARS Code 24). However, Manning holds both state and national certifications in procurement. While these are not required by PED, they demonstrate that he is highly-qualified for the job.
- Matthew Dawkins, Director of Information Technology: As a non-certified supervisor or director (STARS Code 24), this position requires no specific state licensure.
- Melissa Zuniga, Controller: Held a Level 1 Business Office Professional license from 2014 to 2017, which has expired. Zuniga has applied to have the license renewed, and is awaiting approval from the state. Previous news reports which returned no results appear to have been based upon an improper search of the statewide database.
“We take this matter very seriously, and our HR Department works closely with the PED to ensure all of our employees meet every requirement,” Ewing added. “The codes for all district employees are reviewed by PED for licensure and certification three times per year, and none of these employees have ever been flagged. Additionally, there are other checkpoints to ensure proper credentials are in place.”