APS school chief in hot water for saying education secretary “should head for the livestock truck”
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
ALBUQUERQUE – Maybe should just stay away from Twitter altogether.
The superintendent of the largest school district in New Mexico may have had his share of clashes with the state’s and her administration’s education chief in the past but on Tuesday he really stepped in it, sending a Twitter message that seemed to compare the Public Education Department secretary-designate to livestock.
Under fire, Brooks offered an apology. “I’m really disappointed in myself,” said the Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent after this exchange on Tuesday night with a reporter from who was covering a speaking engagement by Secretary-designate :
Gov. Martinez took Brooks to task, saying the 59-year-old acted childishly.
“He should be a role model to students,” Martinez said to after a speech in Albuquerque. “He should be a role model to girls, to say this is not the way we speak to women. And to boys, that this is not the way we speak to women.”
Prior tweets indicated that Brooks was sending out his messages while attending a board meeting.
On Wednesday, that his remarks were a bad attempt at humor.
“I’m not making excuses … I was certainly not making any reference to the secretary being a piece of livestock,” he said.
“I just find it so juvenile,” Martinez said.
Officials at PED confirmed that Brooks contacted Skandera Wednesday and apologized.
In a statement, Skandera spokesman Larry Behrens said, “(Skandera) wishes the superintendent would focus more on that goal than making these sorts of petty attacks online while sitting in a school board meeting.”
This is the second time in a week that Brooks has gone to Twitter only to cause a ruckus.
On Oct. 30, he at a demonstration against PED education reforms holding a sign calling Skandera and Martinez “puppets on a string” while the APS chief financial officer retweeted another photo depicting Martinez and Skandera with bloody fangs accompanied by the words, “Positively sucking the life out of education since 2010″:
The most recent Twitter controversy “a very stupid thing to do” but did not indicate if any disciplinary action would follow.
Brooks and Martinez have had a more than a few rocky moments since Martinez took office nearly three years ago.
Most of the disagreements have centered on school reform measures that Martinez and Skandera have backed. The most recent dustup centers on a teacher evaluation program that would see 50 percent of a teacher’s assessment come from student test scores. for contributing to low morale among teachers, who he says “think it is being shoved down our throats.”
Brooks has been a target as well.
Two weeks ago, a attacking Brooks by name:
Esquivel called the flier “sleazy” and , “I think it would have been better for this nonprofit to use the money to purchase socks and underwear for our kids than to put out this flier that most people don’t understand.”
The political group sending out the flier, , is run by Sara Lister, a former deputy cabinet secretary in the Martinez administration.
Here’s NM Watchdog video of Martinez talking about the Brooks tweets:
Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski