The APS School Board Election will take place on Feb. 7.
Meet the Candidates for the APS Board of Education
There are nine seats on the board. Four are up for election this year.
UPDATED WITH CORRECTION: District 6 candidate Paula Maes is not an incumbent. The seat is currently open.
By Johnny Vizcaino
With Betsy Devos another step closer to confirmation, and a Trump administered education department gearing up to run the show for the next four years, there is a renewed focus on public education at the local level. There are nine seats on the board. Four are up for election this year.
The APS School Board Election will take place on Feb. 7.
Here’s a list of candidates running in this year’s election, with information culled from APS candidate questionnaires they filled out.
District 3, the North Valley and Downtown
- Amy Legant
Legant, a retired APS teacher and principal with 36 years’ experience with the district, has resided in APS District 3 for 67 years. She graduated from Valley High School and earned her doctorate from UNM in Curriculum and Instruction.
“Every decision I make will be weighed against my history with the district and the core beliefs set forth in its vision and mission statements.”
Given her experience with the district, Legent said there would be no time wasted on learning the ropes, and that she would take a student-centered approach to her Board duties.
- Lorenzo Garcia, Incumbent
Garcia, the incumbent District 3 board member, current vice-president of the board and chairman of the audit committee, was first elected in 2009 and has resided in his district for 65 years.
“Schools must actually be in our neighborhood communities, through the development of an enriched neighborhood by neighborhood community-school movement,” he wrote. “As well as learning to have the “hard conversations” in places where there may appear to be conflicting perspectives or past histories and practices.
Garcia has more than 35 years of public service. He has been endorsed by the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation (ATF).
- Ali Enega
Enega worked as an APS teacher for seven years and as a paralegal for 18 years before that. She left teaching to become a reading and educational consultant. She has resided in APS District 3 for two years.
“One of the biggest challenges is our inability to perform. Teachers need to be able to own what they do in the classroom. I know many teachers who feel as if they are not able to instruct students the way they should be instructed – that they are ‘teaching to the test.’”
- Charles White
White has resided in APS District 3 for a combined 58 years. He was employed as a teacher or an administrator with APS for 30 years. He has an additional 12 years experience with the Las Cruces Schools. He served as the first director of employee relations for APS and then as Deputy Superintendent until his retirement. He is highly critical of recent APS leadership and public outreach.
“I am confident that I can establish this kind of working relationship with whoever our APS superintendent should be… I pledge to communicate fully with the public and to hold the Superintendent’s feet to the fire when it comes to meeting the Board’s expectations.”
- Kathleen Chavez
Chavez, a retired APS teacher, has resided in APS District 3 for 38 years. She is an advocate of increased transparency in APS board activity.
“Becoming familiar with the issues of particular importance to each board member assists in aligning your own agenda with those most complementary to your own… My skill set allows me to listen with an open mind and evaluate the ideas and concepts that will best suit the needs and opportunities of the students and schools in the district I serve.”
District 5, the West Mesa
- Racheal Gonzales
Currently the director of human resources for American Income Life Insurance, Gonzales was employed by APS for seven years during her time as a student at the University of Phoenix. She has resided in APS District 5 for 18 years.
“The board of education should be a voice for the students and teachers of the district…The district must be able to compete with different modalities of learning, including charter, online, private and other sources of learning.”
- Kayla Marshall
Marshall, who works in accounting and human resources for the Albuquerque Country Club, has been a resident in APS District 5 for 12 years.
“The district keeps asking for more and more tax money and we also pass bond measures every time they are presented. More money is not solving this problem because the money is not going to the classroom. Teachers are blamed for the poor results, but they don’t have the support and resources they need to be successful. It is time for moms and dads to stand with their children’s teachers.”
- Candy Patterson
Patterson, a retired policy analyst, is the current president of the Laurelwood Neighborhood Association. She has resided in APS District 5 for 29 years.
“I will continue my work as a community member listening to parents, teachers, community and working with APS Administration.”
Patterson has been endorsed by the ATF.
- Annie Bell-Rahman
Bell-Rahman, a retired project manager, has resided in APS District 5 for 45 years. She has mentored some APS students, and worked as an educator in the past.
“I will review, collaborate, and contribute my ideas to current laws, policies, and directives. (My experience) gives me a unique perspective in identifying policies that could both benefit or harm the community in which I serve.”
District 6, the Northeast Heights and East Mountains
- Abbas Akhil
Akhil, a retired energy consultant, has resided in APS District 6 for 28 years.
“I support the larger goals of the current Vision and Mission statements of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education… However, I also believe that these broader goals should be re-evaluated by the Board to better reflect our current social and economic environment.”
- Elizabeth Armijo
Armijo works in marketing and mommunications for ORG Agents, an organizing firm. She has resided in APS District 5 for two years.
“I believe we all have a vested interest in public education since education is related to our economy, growth, poverty and crime. We should all work to promote strategies for learning and engagement and be a part of the equation.”
Armijo has been endorsed by the ATF.
- Doug Brown
Brown, a senior engineer with Sandia National Laboratories, plans to retire in March 2017. He has been a resident in District 6 for 40 years.
“ I am concerned about the situation in APS, with low graduation rates and with many graduates requiring remedial courses in college… (I) want to give back to the community by serving on the APS Board now that I will have the time to do so.”
- Melissa Finch
A compliance inspector with the Pueblo of Isleta, Finch has resided in District 6 for 16 years.
I believe in the importance of quality public education… (As a parent), I have a vested interest in seeing APS strive to be the best… I have had the privilege of meeting and working with many skilled teachers. I see how hard they work to provide a quality education.”
- Paula Maes
Maes, the President and CEO of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, served on the APS Board of Education for 12 years. She believe it is the duty of the Board to hire effective leadership and to not “micro-manage” the duties of the Superintendent.
“The board can’t operate in a vacuum. With the NM budget crisis, our APS school board will have tough choices to make and I will wake up every day fighting for more funding for APS from the State, and make sure that money goes to our teachers and to benefit our students.”
- Paul Sievert
Sievert is a retired teacher and businessman who has lived in District 6 for 25 years. He is now a part-time substitute teacher for APS. That follows 13 years with the district as a career and technical education instructor.
“I understand the business side and the delivery side of education. This unique blending of skills gives me a strong outlook on what is needed to successfully deliver education to our students.”
District 7, the Far Northeast Heights
- David Peercy, incumbent
Peercy, a retired senior scientist with Sandia National Laboratories, has served as District 7’s rep for the past eight years. His residency in District 7 spans more than 15 years.
“The district must ensure educational success within the district. Success must be measured by evidence-based data that not only establishes milestone criteria, but progress toward those milestones.”
Peercy has been endorsed by the ATF.
- Ian Burch
Burch is a game developer who has lived in District 7 for two years. He has worked with APS students at summer camps and programming events. He is inspired by the aptitude and eagerness observed in his work with students.
“I believe that modern teaching methods such as flipped classrooms, moderated seminars, and interactive work are key to student engagement and success.”
- William Steinberg
Steinberg is retired and has lived in District 7 for 12 years. He graduated from Del Norte High School.
“A good education should be available for every child. Experienced qualified teachers are essential in helping students become well educated and successful. I want to make sure the teachers have what they need to do that job… The amount of money we are spending does not equate to the results we are getting.”
- Brian Tierney
Tierney is an engineer with Sandia National Laboratories who has resided in District 7 for three years. He is highly critical of the current Board of Education’s lack of vision in pandering to special interests which compromise the district.
“I will fight for a vision that includes more local control of our schools, empowerment of teachers (end Common Core!), greater parental involvement, and accountability to the citizen-taxpayers that fund the district.”
Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern with ABQ Free Press Weekly.