Dr. Crit Caton

Artesia Public Schools Superintendent


  • High School Diploma, Hobbs, New Mexico, May, 1981
  • Associate of Science Degree, New Mexico Junior College, Hobbs, NM, 1983
  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, December, 1985
  • Texas Teacher Certification, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, May, 1986
  • Master of Education-Administration, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, May, 1990
    (Mid-management certification)
  • New Mexico Teacher Certification and Administrator Certification August 1990
  • Doctor of Education, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, December 2004

FOCUS: Tell us a little bit about your professional background and your role in education.

  • Matthews JH, Lubbock TX, fall 1985 – Student Teacher, 7th grade Physical Education
  • Morton, TX ISD, 1986-1990 – Biology and Life Science Teacher / Assistant Football / Head Basketball Coach / Athletic Director
  • Artesia Intermediate, Artesia, NM 1990-1992 – Science Teacher / Coach
  • Artesia H.S., Artesia, NM, 1992-1994 – Biology Teacher / Coach
  • Hermosa Elementary, Artesia, NM, 1994-2004 – Principal
  • Fort Sumner Schools, Fort Sumner, NM, 2004-2005 – H.S. Principal/Superintendent
  • Artesia Junior High, Artesia, NM, 2005-2006 – Principal
  • Artesia High School, Artesia, NM, 2006-2010 – Principal
  • Artesia Public Schools, Artesia, NM 2010-2011 – Assistant Superintendent
  • Artesia Public Schools, Artesia, NM 2011-present – Superintendent
  • President of New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders – 2013-2015
  • President of the New Mexico Superintendents Association – 2016-2017
  • Board of Directors of the New Mexico Activities Association – 2011-Present
  • AASA – National Superintendents Association Governing Board Member 2012-Present

FOCUS: What made you want to enter the field of education?

CATON: The influence of my parents and many of my relatives/family members who are educators. My dad (Dale Caton) was a collegiate basketball coach, college instructor, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools. (I was a gym rat growing up.) My mom (Lynell) was a high school business teacher. I guess you could say that it is in my blood.

FOCUS: What led you to a career with the Artesia Public School District?

CATON: I heard many good things about the City of Artesia and its school system. I was teaching science and coaching basketball in Morton, TX. Bubba Jennings called me and asked if I was interested in coaching with him. I was hired to teach Life Science at Artesia (Zia) Intermediate and coach basketball. It was one of the best decisions that I made in my life.

FOCUS: Please tell us about any awards you have received for your work in education.

CATON: I have received a few awards, but I consider my main award/reward the opportunity to work with wonderful people every day. The chance to build positive relationships and create wonderful memories is my greatest award. (NM Superintendent of the Year 2016)

FOCUS: What is special about the Artesia educational system? What do you want people to know about your school, its educators and the work they do, that perhaps they might not know about or understand?

CATON: The positive relationships that we build with our students every day is one of the special things about the Artesia Public Schools. Our teachers and staff are the single most influential “element” in the lives of our students. We can incorporate all the standards, technology and curriculum in the world, but if we don’t establish a positive relationship with our students, there will be no positive outcomes.

I truly believe that being an educator is the most noble profession in the world, and that the Artesia Public School District has the most outstanding, dedicated staff of professionals in the State of New Mexico. They consistently place their students’ needs above their own, and they always find a way to address those needs. We strive to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students and a positive, rewarding work environment for all employees.

FOCUS: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

CATON: Being able to watch kids succeed in both the classroom and in activities/athletics. Knowing that our school system is touching the lives of not only our students, but members of our community.

FOCUS: Do you have a motto or saying that you live by?

CATON: Mom – When I am going through a rough time. “This too shall pass”.

Dad – In relationship to Administrative Leadership. “Surround yourself with great people, and then let them do their job”.