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APS District 4: Candidate profiles and Q&A

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GILBOARD

Mark Gilboard
Age: 43
Education: B.A., Spanish and B.A., Rhetoric from Bates College, Lewiston, Me. M.A., Communication from The University of New Mexico.
Occupation: Advertising Manager
Family: Wife Kristen, two daughters, Anna, 11 and Nola, 6
Political/government Experience: None
Major professional accomplishment: Making a career change to take a job with no required travel to be able to spend more time with my family.
Major personal accomplishment: Convincing my wife to marry me.

 

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LOPEZ

John “Jake” Lopez
Age: 65
Education: B.A. in History from UNM and an M.A. in Secondary Education from UNM
Occupation: Retired educator
Family: Wife, three sons and five grandchildren
Political/government Experience: None
Major professional accomplishment: Educating students for 42 years.
Major personal accomplishment: Educating students for 42 years.

 

MACQUIGG

MACQUIGG

Charles “Ched” MacQuigg

Age: 64
Education: Master’s degree plus 45 hours
Occupation: Retired teacher
Family: Yes
Political/government Experience: Political pamphleteer and activist
Major professional accomplishment: Teaching middle school for almost 25 years
Major personal accomplishment: My blog Diogenes’ Six.

Barbara Petersen

Age: 62
Education: I attended public schools in Birmingham, Ala. and Arlington Heights, Ill., through the 12th grade. After attending Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, for two years, I transferred to UNM, graduating with a

PETERSEN

PETERSEN

B.S. in education in 1974. I obtained my M.A. in education from UNM in 1988.
Occupation: Retired teacher
Family: I am a single, adoptive parent of a now-adult daughter.
Political/government Experience: As a concerned parent, citizen, educator, member and political outreach coordinator of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, I have closely followed education policy for many years and worked with legislators to support public schools. I am proud to have the label of “activist” in the fight for our schools.
Major professional accomplishment: I loved the relationships with students and families in a classroom community and the thought-provoking work with educators as an Instructional Coach, but I am most proud of my work as a Reading Recovery and Reading Intervention Teacher. The key to working with the most struggling readers was to see their strengths and to give them the support they needed to discover themselves as successful learners.
Major personal accomplishment: Being a single, adoptive mother of a wonderful, now-adult daughter has been my greatest joy, struggle and personal accomplishment. Navigating that experience and having the “parent-eye” view of the schools made me a better teacher. My daughter has made me a better person.

Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe
Age: 38
Education: Brown University (Africana Studies, Theater, Political Science)

SOUL-BOWE

SOUL-BOWE

UNM (Honors Independent Degree Design: Early Childhood Multicultural Education, Indigenous Studies and Language, Literature, SocioCultural Studies)
CNM (Growing Educators in Native American Communities Alternative Teacher Licensure)
Occupation: Wife and Mother, Socio-Ethnomusicologist, Educator, UNM Lecturer (Curanderismo), Curriculum Creator, Diversity Specialist, Professional Vocalist & Musician, 501c3 Founder. Yes, all of these things, I do.
Family: Spouse, Rodney Bowe, Director of UNM Division of Equity & Inclusion; Son, Solomon Apiliato Marley Soul-Bowe, 7th grade; Son, Justus Vailoa Soul-Bowe 2nd grade
Political/government Experience: Partial list
Roots International Sustainable Enterprises, President
Vice President of Communications, Brown University Alumni Class of 1997
African American Student Government, President (Brown University)
City of Albuquerque Mayors Youth Council, Founder
Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Advisory Board Co-Founder
Cultural Ambassador sponsored by US Embassy to Aotearoa/New Zealand 2013
Major professional accomplishment: Cultural Ambassador sponsored by the US Embassy to Aotearoa/New Zealand 2013
Creation of 501c3 NM MusicWorks to bring music & art to over 50,000 children in New Mexico over the past decade
Major personal accomplishment: The natural birth of my two sons, without any medicine, in a home birth and a water birth, outside of a hospital.

 


 

Candidate Q&A

1. Do you agree with the APS 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?

Gilboard: In short, I do not agree. The Superintendent is beholden to Albuquerque taxpayers and voters as the sole employee of the School Board. He works for us, the people. In the case of some possibly incriminating details which may need to remain private, they can be stricken, but the essential outline of the investigation, yes.

Lopez: I believe government, at all levels, needs to be transparent and therefore I do believe the investigation should be public.

MacQuigg: I do not. The very worst thing any public servant can do is anything they do in unnecessary secrecy from the people. There is only one reason to hide the truth; escaping the consequences of the truth becoming known. They are hiding the truth because the law allows them to.

Petersen: Personnel procedures, even with a superintendent, need to be confidential. In this case, there would be legal repercussions with public disclosure. Like everyone else, I am curious about the results of the investigation and outraged by the $350,000 settlement. However, I do not believe that the goals of the district would be moved forward by this disclosure. This does make more imperative the hiring of a superintendent with vision, integrity and a true commitment to the community.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: Although I agree with their determination and authority as acting members of the board, I believe that if you are appointed or elected to a taxpayer funded public position, you and your actions should be transparent to those who are providing the funding for the administrative oversight of over 90,000 students and their families who are trusting this institution. I believe in accountability, financial and overall transparency of ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS & elected officials.

2. 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?

Gilboard: The preponderance of longitudinal research evidence indicates that students who are retained are no better off, and perhaps worse off than those promoted. I am open to smart legislative action such as that in Massachusetts and Virginia, where lawmakers require deference to Early Literacy Expert Panels, or specialized local school divisions. In the absence of more details about the “intense literacy intervention,” I could not in good conscience support legislative action, but I am open to innovative ideas that simultaneously respect teachers and administrators’ expertise.

Lopez: I am not for retention of any student unless the parent and teacher agree. I believe if free early childhood education is instituted in our state and if there is intense early literacy intervention, this question would not need to be asked.

MacQuigg: Reading is not the only way to learn. It isn’t even the best way. Children can learn other ways; watching, listening and doing. They can make progress in every other subject while they learn to read. Maybe it will excite them enough to make them really want to read.

Petersen: There exists fifty years of research on retention showing that retention does not work, unless it is supported with intensive intervention. Even with that intervention, the effects are generally harmful. Children’s short-term gains in reading tend to not maintain past middle school and these students are four times more likely to drop out. Removing the family and educators from the decision to retain and using high-stakes tests as the “decider” is misguided.

Our current law on retention gives parents and teachers a say in retention. Annually, 2 to 5% of our students are retained when the teachers and school personnel, together with the family, are able to make the decision. It is most appropriate in the earliest grades, when reading instruction is a major daily focus. Opposing third-grade retention does not mean that we can be complacent about the progress of struggling students. It does mean that we need to be effective and offer the early interventions that truly lead to success.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: I support the creation of early childhood literacy development in Pre-K through 2nd grade which would eliminate the need to retain third-graders. Children need to develop alongside their peers and we are not doing enough to ensure that they are literate by the time they reach the third-grade. The onus lies with the teacher, the family and the community to support and guide the student in learning to read at and early age, prior to age 5 years. APS’s role should be the first component with an improved curriculum targeting childhood literacy as a PREVENTATIVE MEASURE to eliminate retention of our precious students, NOT punitive post actions such as retention.

3. 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?

Gilboard: Everyone should be able to serve the citizenry by participating in the political arena. However, teachers should not receive pay while doing so. There is also a problem of whether or not the students are adequately served by an absentee teacher who must be replaced at district cost, with a substitute. But not knowing the details of the time required to adequately serve in the Legislature, I cannot fairly judge. I think there is a slight difference with administrators, as they don’t have classroom obligations.

Lopez: I believe in a people’s legislature and therefore we should make it financially feasible for any person who wins a seat in the state Legislature. If that means paying them while they are in Santa Fe, then it should be done. I am familiar with one person who was in this situation, who worked before sessions or in the evenings to complete his/her assigned jobs. There are ways to recover the expense to the district. Maybe, teachers who are serving can teach summer school at a reduced salary for instance.

MacQuigg: If we are going to have a citizen legislature, then any citizen ought to be able to serve, not just the wealthy. We must make absolutely certain that the quality of their long term substitute teacher is up to standards. I would elaborate, but my 50 words are almost …

Petersen: The New Mexico Constitution provides for a citizen legislature. So long as that is the case, it is important that citizens from every walk of life have an opportunity to serve. If the citizens of a district democratically elect an employee of APS, that employee should have the ability to represent their constituency. The budgetary impact for these employees is minimal, while greatly enhancing democracy in the state.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: No. Neither APS administrators nor teachers should be allowed to take paid political leave to serve. It’s a choice and privilege. If they choose to advocate in this manner, they should do so on their own time and dime in addition to the fulfillment of their responsibilities as teachers and administrators in APS.

4. What percentage, if any, of a teacher’s evaluation should be based on student test scores and why?

Gilboard: A very low percentage, if any. My experience as a parent in APS is that the current standardized tests necessitate a fair amount of “coaching” and test-specific preparation, sometime replacing actual learning activities, and are not a true measure of the amount of learning that takes place. The existing tests can’t measure valuable things teachers are imparting to their students every day things like leadership, resourcefulness, persistence and curiosity, so why should we evaluate them with such severe repercussions on such a small part of what they are doing in the classroom?

Lopez: There should be no connection between student testing and a teacher’s evaluation. There are too many variables that affect student testing and therefore have no reflection on a teacher’s abilities.

MacQuigg: Teachers should be evaluated by every practical means, the results compiled and considered in toto. Standardized test scores if anything, measure only teachers’ ability to standardize individual performances in a group of children with little more in common than their age and the school they attend.

Petersen: Evaluations should give objective feedback to teachers and support professional growth. As a board member, I would do everything possible to minimize the toll of the high-stakes tests on teachers and students so that they can focus on teaching and learning, not testing.

In 2013, a teacher evaluation bill passed through both chambers of the Legislature. In order to meet the specifications of a waiver to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements, about 20% of the score would have been based on high-stakes tests. The remainder would have looked at multiple measures of assessment, would have seen children as individuals with individual needs, and would have utilized an effective observation protocol. This method would have led to a more accurate reflection of professional practice and would have emphasized professional growth, benefiting students and educators alike. I actively supported this legislation in Santa Fe. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed this well thought out legislation. Finally, there are in place due process procedures so that struggling educators, who have been unable to improve their practice even after receiving support, lose their position. This protects children in the classroom and protects good educators from arbitrary or subjective actions.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: 20 percent. The ability to teach a student to test well, and to think critically and strategically in matters that require high performance under time constraints, is a valuable skill. Human beings are tested in multiple capacities on a daily basis, and therefore should acquire the ability to test well, overcome fear, and manage stress. I directly attribute my academic performance and success to the excellent education I acquired IN APS from grades 1st through graduation. My teachers taught me how to test well and taught to my strengths, and thus my admission and success at an Ivy League college is also largely responsible for much of my success; I was tested there, just as I was tested in APS, and I learned how to test well from my teachers in APS- tactically and strategically. This should be 1/5th of how teachers are evaluated alongside many other factors. The evaluation should be egalitarian and not solely based, nor inequitably based on high stakes testing scores from their students.

5. If elected what would be your top priorities?

Gilboard: High expectations for student achievement, closing the achievement gap between struggling and high-performing schools, examining meaningful data to drive accountability in improving student achievement, aligning and sustaining resources to meet district goals, work towards connecting the various visions and missions of the schools in the district with the values of the community.

Lopez: Push for community schooling. APS is too big to be able to realize what is best for each of the 85,000+ students of the district. Community schooling allows local rule and local discussion and decisions about our students. APS has already started working on cultural proficiency at all levels of the district. I would push to move that process along. I, also, want to close the achievement gap and community schooling and cultural proficiency can do much to close that gap.

MacQuigg: Create open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve. Move decision making power and resources into schools and classrooms. Create honest and actual accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants in the public schools.

Petersen: Our children’s future is my number one priority. While it is easy to say that, it is much more complicated than that. As a school board member and a former teacher, I can be the bridge between the administration, our principals, our teachers and students. Fighting for our public schools and making them better is a fight worth having. I will support our teachers, so they can spend more time teaching and less time testing. Using my knowledge of the classroom, I will make sure that district policies stay focused on protecting the learning environment in the classroom. Currently, the schools are being bombarded by mandates from the district as well as the state and federal education departments. The district can reduce the additional requirements that it imposes, while working with other districts to help shape state policy. The focus of the district needs to be on supporting what happens to students each day when they enter their classroom. This work must include opposition to the high-stakes tests and their misuse in rating and punishing schools, educators, and students.

I will fight to restore much needed funding to our underfunded school system, giving careful consideration to the budget, making sure that the resources of the district are directed toward supporting students. Given that funding levels have not been restored to 2008 levels, working with legislators will be critical for sufficient funding. I will work to expand Community Schools, which support students and families in essential ways, making existing resources more accessible and providing the opportunities for enrichment, as well as academic support, needed by many students. By recognizing poverty as an underlying factor in too many of our students’ lives, we can work together to create solutions, rather than misplacing blame.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: R.I.S.E. – Restore, Inclusion, Safety and Equity. 1. Restore, transparency and accountability for all financial and administrative decisions. 2. The creation of four additional seats on the board which will be 2 student seats (middle and high school democratically elected by the APS student body, 1 community seat and one teachers union seat.) 3. Establishment of Critical Cultural Conscience Curriculum: this includes diversity directives, anti-racism training, people first language and cultural proficiency for all students, teachers, staff and administrators. 4. Safe Spaces Legislation – I authored a bill that facilitates and outlines the creation of holistically safe spaces for all APS students, teachers, staff, parents, community and administrators to enable optimal learning.

6. What qualities, key policy positions and previous work experience are you looking for in a new superintendent?

Gilboard: A great deal of knowledge and/or experience with any or all of the following: Large urban school districts, especially low income communities, highly multicultural student body, historically low graduation rates and a strategy to improve them, thoughtful Common Core implementation. The following would be desirable personality attributes – humility, collaborative mindset, leadership traits, desire to be in Albuquerque for a long time (stability), enthusiasm, desire to learn and grow, and hopefully classroom experience.

Lopez: I want a New Mexican who already knows our history and the cultures of this great state. I want someone who listens with an open mind but after listening makes a judicious decision. I want a person who loves students and believes in them. I want a person who believes in teachers and treats them as professionals. I also want someone who reaches out to all communities and tries to overcome their problems. I want someone who is visible and approachable.

MacQuigg: The new superintendent must be able to create synergies among the people in the district who have the education, expertise and experience to solve problems. Teachers for example, have between them nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience and no seat at the table where plans are being drawn to deal…

Petersen: The community needs a superintendent who respects the community and its diversity. This individual must understand our community’s rich history, multi-lingual strength and potential, and the tremendous array of cultures and backgrounds our students bring into our schools. In order to be effective, this superintendent also must be a person who possesses knowledge of teaching, learning, and the complexity of educators’ work; who is able to effectively lead a large institution by listening to the practitioners, their employee organizations and the community; who is committed to a collaborative, rather than a hierarchical, style of management.

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: I look forward to evaluating every candidate and learning how each might best fit into our district, then listening to the community to gather their input regarding the best candidate. We are the 34th largest district and we don’t even rank in the top 10 within New Mexico. The next administrator has to be the best person we can possibly find, with a proven track record of equitably transforming a diverse district, embracing community, and they must see Albuquerque and it’s people as the opportunity of a lifetime for growth and success!

7. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy hearing?

Gilboard: No

Lopez: No

MacQuigg: No

Petersen: No

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: No

8. 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.

Gilboard: No

Lopez: No

MacQuigg: Yes. By way of explanation I will offer this; politicians and public servants are entitled to private lives. They enjoy the same Constitutionally protected human right to privacy as anyone else, and the Journal has no warrant and running for the board doesn’t create one. Lengthier essay at http://ched-macquigg.blogspot.com/2014/12/public-servants-and-private-lives.html

Petersen: No

Pleasant Soul-Bowe: Aside from minor traffic violations in the state of New Mexico, no. My personal SSN and other information was stolen and used to commit identity fraud involving the purchase of property in the late 1990s. LifeLock is still unearthing other activities committed by this individual/group.

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