LOS LUNAS — Almost four months after being placed on paid administrative leave and more than a month after being discharged from her position by the Los Lunas Board of Education, Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Dana Sanders is retiring.

On June 16, the board voted to discharge Sanders from her position, but she was still on the district’s payroll until they accepted her retirement on Tuesday night.

Dana Sanders 1 COL.jpg

Dana Sanders

Former Los Lunas Schools Superintendent

Sanders had been employed with Los Lunas Schools for 32 years, and is the first female superintendent in the district.

Sanders said she’s been considering retirement since she was placed on administrative leave by the board.

“I got tired of the whole situation, and decided it’s time to move on and do other things,” Sanders said. “Every job I’ve had I’ve given 110 percent because I love it and I love the district and community.”

Sanders said she’s enjoyed watching the school district grow, and still often sees previous students of hers around the county.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with members of this community. I owe so much to my administrative staff and cabinet because they have supported me,” Sanders said.

Sanders was hired as the permanent superintendent in 2015, after serving as interim superintendent following the retirement of former superintendent Bernard Saiz. She worked her way up, working as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, assistant superintendent and eventually superintendent. This was her sixth year as superintendent.

Sanders started her education career in Albuquerque in 1986, and moved back to her hometown of Belen the following year to teach at Gil Sanchez Elementary School.

After that, she was the assistant principal at Daniel Fernandez Intermediate School for two years and Los Lunas Middle School for four years until she became the principal in 2004. Sanders was then chosen as the director of personnel, then the assistant superintendent for staff and student services.

Sanders hopes to be remembered as someone who made a difference for the district and students as well as for the employees.

“I hope to be remembered as someone who left the district better than when I came, and show people you can rise from a beginning position to whatever you aspire to be,” Sanders said.

As far as what’s next for her, Sanders said she’s looking into attending law school. She’s also looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.

“I’ll be spending some time with them and help them with their school work, especially now with everything going on,” she said.

The Los Lunas Schools Board of Education met Tuesday evening and accepted Sanders’ retirement.

During the meeting, none of the board members said anything about Sanders’ retirement other than accepting it unanimously.

Sanders said she has been able to get to know a lot of people at her time with Los Lunas Schools, and will miss them.

“I’ve met so many people who have mentored me and are going to be friends for long past my time at the district,” Sanders said. “My mother once said that she reluctantly shared me with my second love, which is Los Lunas Schools.”

Staff Writer

Anna Padilla is a native of Los Lunas, and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She began her journalism career with the VCNB in May 2019. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.

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