Equity, Excellence and Relevance
The New Mexico Public Education Department partners with educators, communities, and families to ensure that ALL students are healthy, secure in their identity, and holistically prepared for college, career, and life.
Rooted in Our Strengths
Students in New Mexico are engaged in a culturally and linguistically responsive educational system that meets the social, emotional, and academic needs of ALL students.
Secretary of Education
Kurt Steinhaus was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and has dedicated his career to education and advocating for the diverse population of New Mexico students. Dr. Steinhaus currently serves as Secretary of Education (Designate) for New Mexico. His Bachelor’s degree is in music education. He has two Masters Degrees, a Master of Arts in Music and a more recent Master of Science in Educational Technology from the University of Oregon. His Doctorate, from the University of New Mexico, is in Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning.
His prior appointment was Superintendent of the Los Alamos Public Schools. He has also served as director of student programs, education, workforce development, scholarships, and community giving at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Steinhaus has also served as New Mexico Deputy Secretary of Education, PreK Czar and Education Policy Advisory for Governor Bill Richardson. Kurt and his wife Jo Beth are fortunate to have wonderful children and several grand-dogs. Daughter Valerie is a software engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Their son Kent, married to Katy, is a hydrology engineer in Colorado, and Katy is an electrical engineer.
Katarina Sandoval, Ed.M.
Deputy Secretary of Academic Engagement and Student Success
Kata Sandoval has worked in education for more than two decades, including more than 10 years as a classroom teacher. She recently served as the Senior Director of Academics and School Performance for the Native American Community Academy, implementing K-12 program development. Deputy Secretary Sandoval served in administration with the state’s largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools, including serving as Chief Academic Officer and Associate Superintendent. Deputy Secretary Sandoval holds a bachelor’s from Stanford University and a master’s in education from Harvard University.
Gwen Perea Warniment, Ph.D.
Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Gwen serves as the Deputy Secretary for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for the New Mexico Public Education Department. In this role, she oversees Educator Quality, Curriculum and Instruction, College and Career Readiness, Research and Accountability, Assessment, Strategic Outreach, and Policy for the agency. With more than two decades of experience supporting public education, Dr. Perea Warniment has taught across the elementary to post-secondary landscape. Prior to her appointment, she also served in the nonprofit arena as the Program Director for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation assisting communities and rural school districts across New Mexico with initiatives that supported teacher growth and retention, socio-emotional support systems, and STEM professional learning for educators.
Gwen is passionate about student voice, culturally and linguistically sustaining instruction, and the role of education in developing healthy communities. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University. Her pride and joy are her two sons, Jakob, who is attending New Mexico Tech University to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering, and Adam, a junior in high school. Dr. Perea Warniment is a native New Mexican.
Vickie C. Bannerman, Ed.D.
Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity, and Transformation
Dr. Vickie C. Bannerman is the Public Education Department’s Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity and Transformation. In this role, Dr. Bannerman informs policy, initiatives, and programs agency-wide in areas regarding diversity, equity, inclusion and transformational change. She also oversees and supports Options for Families/Charter Schools Division, Indian Education Division, Language and Culture Division and Special Education Division. Dr. Bannerman, in partnership with members of IET’s leadership team, also oversees improvement and implementation efforts focused on monitoring and implementation of the Indian Education Act, Hispanic Education Act, Bilingual Multicultural Education Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the recently signed into statue House Bill 43 Black Education Act.
Before joining the Public Education Department, Dr. Bannerman was the principal at Volcano Vista High School and Wilson Middle School. Before moving to New Mexico, she was the Director of Graduate Programs for the University of Oklahoma campuses located in the England. Prior to her time in Europe, Dr. Bannerman worked in secondary and university level teaching and administration in service for students, staff, and communities in North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia.
Dr. Bannerman has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in African and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a Masters level degree in Educational Leadership and Administration and a Doctor of Education with a concentration in Educational Administration from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Bannerman has also participated in post graduate studies at North Carolina Central University.
Most importantly, Dr. Bannerman has a loving husband with whom she shares two beautiful children, a home filled with love and laughter, a faith that endures all things, and an unwavering spirit for service that is deeply rooted in cultural richness and advocacy.