Q&A APS Board District 5 Uche M. Ohiri - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A APS Board District 5 Uche M. Ohiri

Uche Ohiri

Name: Uche M. Ohiri

Political party: Democratic

Age: 60

Education: Master’s, family nurse practitioner, University of St. Francis, Jolliet, Illinois — 2017; Bachelor of Science, nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque — 2009; master’s, public administration, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque — 2004; LLB, Nigerian Law School, Lagos — 1985; bachelor’s, law, University of Calabar, Nigeria — 1984

Occupation: Family nurse practitioner, Optum Medical Group, since May 2018

Family: Married to Emmanuel Ohiri Sr., 2 children

Relevant experience: Mother of two children, health care professional, have overseen medical assessments for APS student athletes, have served as an educator training nurses at CNM, worked within New Mexico Corrections Department as probation and parole officer, member of the City of Albuquerque Human Rights Board, active West Side community member.

Campaign website: UcheForOurFuture.com

What’s the biggest issue APS faces? How would you address it?

I believe our graduation rates in District 5 need to be improved. This metric is an indicator of how well APS is performing as a whole. We must improve student achievement, ensure there are equitable resources for educators (including continuing education/better training), and a safe learning environment for all.

In your opinion, what is the primary role of a school board member?

The role of a school board member is to be a voice and an advocate for the community they represent. As the only elected officials within the APS system, it is our duty as APS board members to make sure our constituents’ concerns are brought to the table.

How would you evaluate the current school board’s performance?

The current board is doing as best they can with the challenges that APS has faced over the last several years. With the majority of the board retiring this year, we have a rare opportunity to make the board more inclusive and representative of the Albuquerque community.

What experience do you have overseeing a budget?

I have a masters’ degree in public administration and am well-versed in the budgeting procedures of government organizations. I am currently treasurer of my local Democratic Party ward. I oversaw the budgeting of my local church as a pastoral council member. I also oversaw budgeting of Igbo Union of NM.

Would you support a vaccine mandate for APS students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? Why or why not?

As a nurse, I’ve seen how devastating COVID has been to our communities. I understand the science behind the vaccines and know that they work. Once the vaccines are approved for all APS-aged students, I would be open to some sort of mandate that is fair and equitable.

What’s your position on mask mandates at schools?

I strongly support masks in schools for everyone. As a nurse, I know how vital proper masking is in decreasing the spread of deadly viruses.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a return to remote learning?

I saw how isolating remote learning was for a lot of our children. I believe a return to remote learning should be a very last resort — in-person learning should be prioritized and as a nurse, my background in health care will be invaluable in this decision-making process.

Do you think superintendent applications should be public?

Yes because the superintendent position is a public office and the head of the state’s largest school district should set the example on transparency.

How would you evaluate APS as a whole?

I believe APS has done great work, but can be doing a lot better. They faced exceptional challenges with the pandemic and met them as best they could. The community school model is stellar, but they can be doing more to make sure our students’ health needs are being met.

What’s your stance on charter schools?

I am a strong advocate for our public schools. I believe APS should support their current charter schools, but our limited resources must be spent on ensuring our traditional public schools have everything they need to be successful. Public education is a human right, not a business.

APS has been sued numerous times for failing to release public records. What, if anything, would you do to ensure that the school district is adhering to state transparency laws, such as the Inspection of Public Records Act?

I am a strong supporter of transparency at all levels of our government — it is crucial to public trust. I will vote for policies that make APS as transparent as possible and use my public position as a school board member to shed light on any public records issues.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, or any misdemeanor or felony?

No.


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