A nonprofit leader, two educators and a chief financial officer are all vying for the open District 3 Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education seat in the Nov. 3 election.
Currently represented by board Vice President Lorenzo Garcia, who declined to seek reelection after serving three terms, District 3 encompasses the North Valley, Downtown and midtown Albuquerque.
Garcia said he chose not to seek reelection because it was time “for someone else to join the board.”
He said the incoming board member will face a variety of challenges including rising temperatures caused by climate change, political division and perennial issues relating to the budget and capital expenditures.
“I think one big challenge for the board will be if they can come together and try to govern in a way that hopefully reflects the best interests of the district and doesn’t fall into partisan trappings,” he said.
This is the most packed race for the board with four candidates running to replace Garcia.
Jinx Baskerville, 60, is no stranger to APS, with 25 years of experience working as a principal, assistant principal and special education teacher for the district.
Ali Ennenga, 57, the other educator in the election, is similarly familiar with APS, having worked for the district between 2009 and 2015 before leaving to start Color Clarity LLC, a business that focuses on
child and adult literacy. Ennenga last ran for the District 3 board seat in 2017 but ultimately lost to Garcia.
Though Danielle Gonzales, 42, doesn’t have ties to APS as an educator, she has firsthand experience with the district as a graduate of Valley High School and worked as an elementary teacher in Texas before leaving to work with education nonprofits.
Lucas Gauthier, 43, the only candidate without professional ties to education, worked as the chief financial officer for the New Mexico 13th Judicial District Court for 12 years and previously worked as a deputy city clerk in Española.
All of the candidates agree the current school board’s performance is either lacking or leaves room for improvement.
Baskerville said the board has not done enough outreach into the community, while Gonzales said the current board’s performance has been poor due to low proficiency scores and declining enrollment.
Ennenga said the current board’s performance “has been on the decline,” and Gauthier said the board “needed more experience with budgeting and procurement.”
There is universal support among the candidates for making superintendent applications public.
But the candidates split when it comes to vaccine mandates and masking requirements for students.
Gauthier and Ennenga disagree with vaccine requirements with both saying that vaccines are a personal choice, while Baskerville and Gonzales support a vaccine requirement.
Ennenga is the only candidate for the District 3 seat to disagree with required masking and said children and adults “should have the choice to wear a mask or not.”
Baskerville, Gonzales and Gauthier all agree on some form of masking requirements.