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APS board to consider renaming school for the late Janet Kahn

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A group of teachers and administrators want to change the name of an elementary school to honor the late Janet Kahn, a woman they say restarted the arts and music education programs at Albuquerque public elementary schools roughly two decades ago.

JANET KAHN

JANET KAHN

Supporters want the Eubank Academy of Fine Arts in the Northeast Heights to become the Janet Kahn School of Integrated Arts. Several teachers who gathered at the school Tuesday afternoon said Kahn was responsible for restarting elementary school art education at APS.

“She set everything in motion for all of us,” said Susan Wing, an art teacher at Double Eagle Elementary School.

Former co-workers said they wanted to rename the school following Kahn’s death earlier this year.

Kahn hailed from Columbia, S.C., and she attended school in Albuquerque, according to her obituary. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico in 1969 and, later, a master’s degree in education administration in 1990.

In 1995, then-Superintendent Peter Horoschak hired Kahn to reintroduce the arts in elementary school programs. She started with 22 art and music teachers in 1996 and, by 2012, the same year she retired, had 96 teachers. These days, students in elementary school receive three years of art education and three years of music education, said Luis Delgado, the current head of the fine arts program. He worked with Kahn as they re-established the program.

Delgado said Kahn also played a role in restructuring Eubank Academy as a school with a focus on the fine arts.

“I just think it would be a wonderful legacy to leave to the community and certainly for the students to remember her by,” Delgado said.

Based on APS policies, elementary schools “ought be named after persons who have provided positive role models for Albuquerque Public Schools students” and “primary consideration shall be given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to education in the community, the state or the nation.”

Policy requires a majority of staff to sign off on the change. It also requires at least 100 members of the school community or a majority of the community, whichever is greater, to sign a petition approving the name.

APS officials say they have changed the names of schools just a few times. The former Aspen Elementary School was renamed for John Baker, an award-winning University of New Mexico cross-country and track athlete who served as Aspen’s first physical education teacher.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Education’s Policy and Instruction Committee voted unanimously to recommend the school be renamed.

The full board is scheduled to consider the name change when it meets tonight.

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