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NM PED Leadership

/NM PED Leadership
NM PED Leadership 2024-04-23T08:19:33-06:00


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.

Additional Information

PED’s Entry and Learning Plan defines goals for the future of New Mexico education and the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Department Leadership

Dr. Arsenio Romero

Dr. Arsenio Romero
Secretary of the Public Education Department

Dr. Arsenio Romero, a native New Mexican and son of an educator, has spent the last quarter-century serving New Mexico communities as a school and district leader. Prior to his appointment as Public Education Department Secretary, Dr. Romero served as superintendent of Los Lunas Schools and superintendent and CEO of Deming Public Schools. Dr. Romero also oversaw district curriculum as assistant superintendent for instruction and transformation for the Roswell Independent School District. Since 2013, he has been a lead performance coach/executive coach for PED. He started his career in education as an elementary school teacher and principal for Las Cruces Public Schools. In addition, the secretary has taught at New Mexico State University since 2014 and joined the NMSU Board of Regents in 2020. Dr. Romero’s greatest source of pride is his family. He and his wife Amber, an educator, are the proud parents of four children.


Seana Flanagan
Managing Director

Seana is Managing Director. Previously, she was Division Director of Educator Quality and has been with PED since 2014. Before joining the Public Education Department, Seana was a middle school educational assistant and teacher in Vermont. She also worked in retail leadership and training for multiple companies, including Apple.

Candice Castillo

Dr. Candice Castillo
Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity and Transformation

Dr. Candice Castillo is the Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity and Transformation. She oversees such things as federal programs, safe and healthy schools, language and culture, and the Black and Hispanic education acts, as well as student, school and family support.


Amanda DeBell
Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Innovation

Amanda is Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Innovation. As part of her role, she will support educator quality and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Community and charter schools, as well as struggling schools, fall under her purview.


Gregory Frostad
Assistant Secretary of Policy, Research and Technology

Gregory is Assistant Secretary of Policy, Research and Technology. During his nine years with the agency, he has managed the COVID response for schools, supervised the successful submission of more than $20 million in competitive grants and worked with the legislature and Governor’s Office to achieve the largest funding for New Mexico schools in history.


KatieAnn Juanico
Assistant Secretary of Indian Education

KatieAnn is Assistant Secretary of Indian Education. As part of her job, she will lead Indian Education Programs, Native American language and culture projects, and tribal consultations.


Antonio Ortiz
Director of Finance and Operations

Antonio Ortiz is the Director of Finance & Operations which includes oversight of the School Budget Bureau, School Finance Bureau, Administrative Services Division, and the Transportation/Capital Outlay Bureau and has been with PED since 2002.  He also serves as PED’s designee on the Public School Capital Outlay Council and the Public School Capital Outlay Oversight Task Force. Most important, Antonio is a proud father of a beautiful son who is currently attending the University of New Mexico.


Dr. Margaret Cage
Director of Special Education

Dr. Margaret Cage is a proud product of public school education and a long-time educator of over 25 years. She has invested her career in transforming schools and school systems to improve the futures and lives of all students. Dr. Cage has served as a teacher, instructional coach, turnaround specialist, school leader, and school system director. She is a proud wife, mother of three, and a GiGi to a very special little boy.

Dr. Cage holds a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-law from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, a certification in special education, a Master of Arts in educational leadership, and a Doctorate of Education in executive educational leadership from the University of Holy Cross in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has also completed several educational fellowships focused on improving student outcomes for diverse learners, and she has served as a state-contracted reviewer for the Academic Recovery and Acceleration Plan, providing funding for compensatory services before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Cage is passionate about creating environments where students can thrive and is an advocate for equity and inclusion, especially for those with diverse needs. She is grateful for the opportunity afforded to her from appointment by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the creation of the Office of Special Education. Dr. Cage looks forward to carrying out Governor Lujan Grisham’s vision to ensure every New Mexico student, including those with disabilities, receives a high-quality education.

Page last updated April 23, 2024