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Editorial: Journal selections for APS, CNM school boards

Early voting has started in races for the Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College boards of education. Election Day is Feb. 3. Here are the Journal’s recommendations:

Albuquerque Public Schools

District 1 – Analee Maestas

Current board president Analee Maestas brings an important breadth and depth of knowledge to the school board, with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field of education, and 44 years in classrooms ranging from educational assistant to her current job as executive director of a charter school.

That academic and front-line experience, as well as awareness of how innovation can drive positive reform, are invaluable to a district finally working cooperatively to improve student achievement. Maestas has been integral to the collaboration, meeting with state officials and walking the open-door-policy talk.

Maestas, whose district includes the South Valley, says she is proud that during her first term APS “is for the first time closing the achievement gap” among poor and minority students. She remains open to retention of students who can’t read at grade level as long as there is a solid “remediation plan, early intervention plan, and involvement of parents, teachers and principal of the school.” And she emphasizes “working collaboratively with all stakeholders to meet the academic, social and mental health needs of our children.”

That grounded, civil approach is vital for the district to continue to move forward. The Journal endorses Analee Maestas in APS District 1.

District 2 – Peggy Muller-Aragón

Peggy Muller-Aragón knows firsthand the challenges APS teachers face, as well as the tools they need to be successful. As a 30-year elementary-school veteran, she brings an important perspective as an advocate of the district’s youngest students and an understanding of the classrooms where change is vital for systemic improvements.

Muller-Aragón favors intensive intervention to help students learn to read, with retention a last resort at third grade for those who still can’t read at grade level. She supports targeting funding to reading programs because “a lot of the below-the-line budgeting they’re looking at for programs is wonderful, and they are great because they don’t go and get lost in the funding formula and get lost in the bureaucracy of that ivory tower called APS.”

Muller-Aragón isn’t interested in using APS’ northwest mesa district to play politics but in moving APS forward by working with others and listening to all sides of an issue. The Journal endorses Peggy Muller-Aragón in APS District 2.

District 4 – Mark Gilboard

Advertising manager Mark Gilboard understands the district is first and foremost responsible to Albuquerque taxpayers and that the superintendent “works for us, the people.”

That appreciation informs his stances on everything from the buyout of the former superintendent to legislative pay for district employees. He believes “the essential outline of the investigation” that ended with Winston Brooks leaving should be made public, that “teachers should not receive pay while” serving in the Legislature and that “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.”

Gilboard is seeking to take the open seat in District 4 vacated by Marty Esquivel, who is not seeking re-election to represent the area east of University Boulevard to Eubank and south of Interstate 40 through Kirtland Air Force Base. If elected he says he would emphasize “examining meaningful data to drive accountability in improving student achievement (and) aligning and sustaining resources to meet district goals.”

That data-driven approach is essential to get the most value out of every dollar in every classroom. The Journal endorses Mark Gilboard in APS District 4.

Central New Mexico Community College

District 6 – Virginia Lopez Trujillo

Virginia Lopez Trujillo would bring to the CNM board an extensive background targeted to community college education, vocational and workforce development. She also would bring knowledge of the board’s mission and workings – she previously served on the board for four years before stepping down in 2007.

Trujillo was a member of the state Board of Education for 12 years, four as president. She also served as education adviser to former Gov. Bill Richardson for two years and assisted with the formation of the Rio Rancho school district, which broke away from the Albuquerque Public Schools. She is a former teacher at Rio Grande and West Mesa High Schools .

Trujillo has a master’s degree in adult and secondary education/vocational education/workforce development from the University of New Mexico.

With funding issues at the top of CNM’s to-do list, Trujillo says CNM should look at becoming more efficient in scheduling to help students finish earlier and enter the workforce more quickly, and at repurposing underused facilities and programs. She says she would work with high school graduates and businesses to promote enrollment.

Trujillo’s many years of experience in the field of education and her record of community service give her the edge in the District 6 election. The Journal endorses Virginia Lopez Trujillo.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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