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APS District 1: Candidate profiles and Q&A

APS District 1 candidate Colt BalokColt Balok
Age: 21
Education: University of New Mexico
Occupation: Student
Family: 13 brothers and sisters.
Political/government Experience: Chairman of the Southeast Community Policing Council, UNM’s Athletic Council, UNM’s Provost Committee on Advisement, Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State Senate Chief Clerk Assistant.
Major professional accomplishment: Being elected into the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico my first semester as a freshman. Working on New Mexico state-wide political campaigns
Major personal accomplishment: Being the Confirmation Instructor for the Aquinas Newman Center. Being a Big Brother with the Big Brother Big Sister program.

APS District 1 candidate Dr. Analee MaestasAnalee Maestas
Age: 63
Education: I have earned a BS in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Bilingual Education, an MA in Special Education with a minor in computer technology, an MA in Remedial Reading, and a Ph.D. in Bilingual Special Education with a minor in Educational Administration.
Occupation: Educator
Family: I’ve been married to an amazing man for 44 years. I have four beautiful daughters, and 8 of the most wonderful grandchildren.
Political/government Experience: School Board for 1 term.
Major professional accomplishment: I have been a successful educator for 44 years and have served children and families in various capacities including educational assistant, teacher, District Coordinator, assistant principal, District Superintendent, and Board Member.
Major personal accomplishment: All of my children are well educated and successful young women with beautiful children.

APS District 1 candidate Madelyn JonesMadelyn Jones
Age: 74
Education: High School Diploma
Occupation: Retail Business owner for forty years
Family: Mother of four, grandmother of seven and great grandmother of three. Widowed in 2011 when my husband of forty-four years Nelson Jones passed away
Political/government Experience: None
Major professional accomplishment: Starting a retail business forty years ago and still in business today in a 4,100-square-foot building
Major personal accomplishment: Raising a child born with severe physical disabilities to be a capable member of society with a wife and child with the help of a wonderful husband and siblings.


Questions to APS District 1 candidates

Q: Do you agree with the Albuquerque Public Schools board’s refusal to make public the results of an attorney’s investigation into former superintendent Winston Brooks, which ultimately led to his resignation and to APS paying him $350,000 to buy out his contract? Why or why not?
BALOK: I respect the decision of the Board. They are elected and they have all the facts and information. Yes, the Board should be transparent with the public, but if the Board feels it necessary that keeping the results from the attorney’s investigation confidential would be more beneficial, I agree with them.
MAESTAS: As a current APS sitting board member, I respectfully honor the Board’s handling of this issue.
JONES: I do not agree. If there is a reason that payroll matters are private, tell us. If that is the case it should be changed. When public money is involved, it should be public.

Q: Do you support legislation that would require retention of third-graders who couldn’t read at grade level, coupled with intense early literacy intervention? Why or why not?
BALOK: Yes, children who cannot read should not be passed onto the next grade. Giving them coursework visibly beyond their capabilities is not the answer. They should be given extra help early on, even if it (means) setting them back one year.
MAESTAS: I would need to see the details of the proposed legislation before making a decision. It would need to include a remediation plan, early intervention plan, and involvement of parents, teachers and principal of the school.
JONES: No. It would have been known long before third grade and should have been dealt with. A third grader staying with their fellow students is very important. Solve the problem early.

Q: Should APS administrators be allowed to take paid political leave to serve in the Legislature? Should teachers be allowed to take paid political leave to serve?
BALOK: While I wholeheartedly support the people serving in the Legislature, I do not believe it is fiscally responsible to pay someone through a 4-8 week voluntary leave of absence, regardless of the reason. In terms of administrators and teachers, I would rather see funds spent on tangible learning tools rather than temporary replacements.
MAESTAS: Yes, I believe that our Legislative criteria calls on all of its citizens to serve in these important roles. I believe denying teachers and/or an administrator from serving disables our employees from serving in the critical democratic process in New Mexico. Both APS administrators and teachers should be allowed to serve.
JONES: No, they should not.

Q: What percentage, if any, of a teacher’s evaluation should be based on student test scores and why?
BALOK: While test scores can be an indicator of how students respond to a specific teacher, I believe there are other ways to evaluate a teacher’s performance, in addition to test scores, as there are many factors that affect a student’s education.
MAESTAS: The teacher evaluation should be discussed and developed with our stakeholders inclusive of PED, our teachers, principals, and parents. This process would determine the most appropriate use of standardized testing in teacher evaluation. This would certainly ensure clear understanding of the expectations and better outcomes.
JONES: 40% is a fair percentage as long as there are at least two to three other criteria. Since teachers use test scores grading students, it seems appropriate to use for the teacher also.

Q: If elected, what would be your top priorities?
BALOK: My priorities are working with the New Mexico Department of Education on communication and the implementation of tests in the district as well as working with the APS Finance Office to make sure funds are being spent effectively and appropriately and to ensure that it is seen in the classroom.
MAESTAS: If re-elected, I would continue to work on academic excellence, closing the achievement gap, cultural proficiency, increased parent involvement, truancy, and working collaboratively with all stakeholders to meet the academic, social, and mental health needs of our children.
JONES: Classroom readiness – parent involvement – teacher shortages – better graduation rates are my top four.

Q: What qualities, key policy positions and previous work experience are you looking for in a new superintendent?
BALOK: I would like to see a superintendent with a steady moral compass, a sense of professionalism, and most importantly, one who maintains an honest and transparent administration. This person is vital to the success of the district and should thus have business and education experience within the district.
MAESTAS: The qualities I would like to see in a superintendent include a strong promoter of the APS district’s mission, goals, and objectives. A strategic planner, collaborative with all of our stakeholders inclusive of parents, employees, students, community, business, government agencies, legislature, understanding and value the diversity in the APS community, understand the priorities of district, respectful, excellent communicator, listener, visible, and value the input of all our stakeholders.
JONES: Integrity and communication skills, followed by children first policy and CEO work experience.

Q: Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy hearing?
BALOK: No.
MAESTAS: No.
JONES: No.

Q: Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.
BALOK: No.
MAESTAS: No
JONES: No.

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