Travis L. Dempsey, superintendent of Cloudcroft Schools for the past five years, was approved by the GISD Board of Trustees as the new superintendent of Gadsden schools in a special meeting held Wednesday at District headquarters.
Dempsey will now lead Gadsden District which includes 28 schools, 1,902 teachers and support employees, 13,653 largely Hispanic students, and top PARCC scores in the state and a district described by New Mexico interim secretary of Education, Christopher Roszkowski, as not only a model district but “Gadsden is a model District for the United States of America”.
Dempsey was one of three candidates that the Board considered after a lengthy process that began in August and which included interviews and a community meeting held at Gadsden Elementary before members of the community and other GISD teacher groups.
“I’m humbled at the opportunity to work with the entire Gadsden team. While I was preparing for this position, I explored the community and felt right away that Gadsden district felt like family. I’m anxious to get to work with teachers, students, and parents to guide the district in a strategic plan,” said Dempsey.
Thursday, he completed details of his departure from Cloudcroft with his Board and submitted his letter of resignation with a departure date of Oct. 20 and Oct. 23 as his first day on the job in Gadsden. During this period, Ms. Susie Yturralde will continue in her role as Interim Superintendent.
“We chose Mr. Dempsey after looking at three very qualified candidates and we look forward to his guidance and leadership and we welcome him to our GISD family,” said Jennifer Viramontes, president of the GISD board. Terms of his employment and salary are currently being negotiated.
Mr. Dempsey has been superintendent of Cloudcroft Municipal Schools since July 2012 and during his tenure helped guide two successful bond issues each for $4 million. In addition, under his tenure Cloudcroft Middle School was designated by the U. S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School crediting that achievement with developing relationships with students, teachers and staff that he said he would be in his heart for the rest of his life.
“My priority is to get to know the staff and to support them in working to do great things for the students. I want to survey and know the entire community in Gadsden ISD that’s students, parents, all the community.”
Dempsey has been a lifelong resident of New Mexico and is completing 18 years of public education holding other positions such as principal of Mountainair High and taught elementary, middle, high school and taught adult students in a GED program.
Mr. Dempsey has been active in numerous regional, state, and local organizations. He was recently elected as an officer in the New Mexico Superintendents Association, was the treasurer of the Otero County United Way and has been a member of the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he has served as the honorary commander for the 54th Fighter Group at Holloman Air Force Base.
Mr. Dempsey is married to Lori Zamora Dempsey and have two daughters ages 19 and 16.