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Brooks has earned an A as APS chief

As former members of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education who have at various times over the last six years worked with APS Superintendent Winston Brooks, we were very interested to read the results of your recently commissioned poll on Brooks’ job performance.

Interested but not surprised.

Representing our communities on the board was itself an education. What you quickly understand is that the responsibility is unique. Being involved daily in the operation of one of the nation’s largest school districts can be daunting and requires thick skin.

APS has a $1.3 billion budget, 14,000 employees, 87,000 students, 142 schools and a never-ending parade of people and factions to please. Anyone who understands the job of a school superintendent accepts the fact that you won’t win any popularity contests while serving in this capacity.

APS is lucky to have Brooks. Fortunate because as the results of your poll indicate, he doesn’t let politics dictate the direction of the district. He does what he believes is best for the students and staff he serves and he does it with conviction.

Kudos to Brooks for finally moving us in the right direction – the right direction if it’s truly student achievement we crave. Brooks gets credit for:

• Improving the graduation rate from 50 percent to 70 percent;

• Expanding the educational choices for parents and students by opening several new magnet schools and programs such as nex+gen, College & Career High School, International Baccalaureate Programme and the Virtual Academy;

• Turning around historically underachieving schools such as Rio Grande High School, Ernie Pyle Middle School and Emerson Elementary.

In addition to the academic accomplishments, the financial outlook for the district has done what some might call impossible – improved during a time of economic downturn. APS has managed to double its cash reserves and improve its bond rating.

Management of tax dollars is something voters always care about.

It’s true in every school district in America that for the most part parents love their teachers and individual schools but don’t often applaud district leadership. That’s unfortunate when you have leadership that is making a difference.

Also signed by former APS School Board members Dolores Griego, Leonardo DeLayo, Robert Lucero, Gordon Rowe and Dave Robbins.