Editor’s Note: This week, the Journal is publishing stories about each of the three APS board races and their candidates.
As the state’s largest school district begins its search for a new superintendent, voters will decide who ultimately hires the new leader of the 90,000-student Albuquerque Public Schools.
Early voting already has begun in the election to fill three of the seven APS school board seats. Election Day is Tuesday, Feb. 3.
In two races – Districts 1 and 2 – incumbents face opponents. In the District 4 race, five candidates are vying to fill the seat now held by Marty Esquivel, who decided not to run for re-election.
The election occurs in the midst of the search for a new superintendent to replace Winston Brooks, who left after the district bought out the remaining two years of his contract for $350,000.
Part of his legacy was a contentious relationship with the state Public Education Department and his open – sometimes hostile – opposition to many of its reforms.
Acting Superintendent Brad Winter has taken steps to improve that relationship, and it will be up to the new board and superintendent to decide which route APS should take.
In District 1, two challengers, Colt Balok and Madelyn Jones, are running against the incumbent, APS school board President Analee Maestas.
In District 2, Peggy Muller-Aragon is running against incumbent Kathy Korte.
And in District 4, John “Jake” Lopez, Barbara Peterson, Charles “Ched” MacQuigg, Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe and Mark Gilboard will face off.
APS school board members are charged with hiring the superintendent and setting policy for the district, which has about 90,000 students, some 14,000 employees and a $690 million operating budget.
Tonight, APS will hold a candidate forum for all three races at 6 p.m. inside the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown NE.
Meanwhile, the early voting sites are: APS City Centre, 6400 Uptown NE; CNM South Valley Campus, 5816 Isleta SW; Petroglyph Shopping Center, 8201 Golf Course NW; and the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex, 111 Union Square SE.