LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - After six months on the job as interim superintendent, Dr. Karen Trujillo will be the new permanent superintendent of Las Cruces Public Schools.
She will start her role on Wednesday with an annual salary of $170,000, it was announced at Tuesday evening's school board meeting. Her new contract ends in June 2022.
"Serving Las Cruces is something I'm just thrilled to be able to do," Trujillo told the board. "I never in a million years would have thought I would have been at this stage in my career or in my life and I'm just - everything happens for a reason."
"We're moving in a good direction," Trujillo told ABC-7 in a sit-down interview on Tuesday. "I hope to be able to continue over the next few years." (You can watch a portion of Trujillo's interview in the video player above.)
Many at the meeting spoke in support of Dr. Trujillo, but the president of the teachers' union said the position should have been made open to qualified candidates.
"We strongly believe there are very qualified candidates out there who have a lot to offer our district," said Denise Sheehan, president of the National Education Association's Las Cruces chapter. "So, again, we would like to see what these people have to offer our district."
Six months ago, Trujillo told ABC-7 she wanted to "restore trust" following the administration of former superintendent Greg Ewing, who attracted controversy for actions that attracted a recall effort of the entire board.
"I think the idea of transparency and honesty really is something that's very personal to myself and to the leadership here in the district," Trujillo said on Tuesday. "We have the opportunity to really be transparent... not shying away from hard issues (and) and admitting where we're wrong."
Click here for a look back at Ewing's controversies as superintendent.