ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Public Schools‘ Board of Education has four open seats this November and no incumbents plan to run for re-election. Some of the current board members say it’s time for some fresh perspectives, and many of the candidates vying for the four open jobs, agree.

Story continues below

“Thirteen years is a long time,” said Dr. David Peercy, who has served on the school board since 2009. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things. We’ve been through some rough times and we’ve gotten through those.”

Dr. Peercy, who currently serves as the school board president, says there’s plenty of candidates that can bring fresh energy to the board. One of the candidates that have filed for his open seat through the Secretary of State’s office, says her work as a parent and a policy analyst could help with the important board decisions.

“There’s actually no parents with school-aged children on the school board. I believe parent input is vital but also professional experience is essential,” said Julie Brenning, who is running for the District 7 seat. “I want to involve the community, parents’ voice, and the leaders in the area. It is essential that our school board is transparent in our decision-making. It’s essential that we bring each other around a table to solve the problems together.”

District 3’s Lorenzo Garcia is also not seeking re-election. Serving just as long as Dr. Peercy, he says it’s a difficult job and hopes his replacement is up for the challenge. Danielle Gonzales and Ali Ennenga are both running for that open seat.

“I work with urban districts all over the country on improvement strategies. I see a lot of strategies coming from other districts,” said Gonzales. “The kids are not alright, and our school system and our families and our students are at a breaking point. The pandemic has really led to significant unfinished learning, to needs for significant mental health and behavioral supports. That’s combined with a massive influx of federal funding so we are in significant need of leadership right now to figure out how to pull all of that together.”

“I know what it’s like to be a teacher and have to pay out of your own pocket for paper and pens and pencils,” said Ennenga, who previously taught special education at Ernie Pyle Middle School. “I’m grateful for their service, but it’s time. It’s time for younger, more-skilled people to look at the budget, to look at what’s going on.”

Crystal Tapia-Romero is running for the District 5 seat soon to be opened by Candelaria Patterson, who says she’s choosing to spend more time with family. With a majority of the board set to be filled by new faces, she says it’s time for a change.

“I’m excited that the school board is going to have new blood, fresh faces. I believe we’re going to be able to bring some visionary ideas to the table,” said Tapia-Romero, who is also a former teacher. “The community has really shown that throughout this last year, and I believe past board members have realized too that we need something different. Thankfully, there’s a lot of stepping up to the plate and I’m ready to do the same.”

District 6’s Elizabeth Armijo is also leaving the board. Many board members came under fire for their decisions during the pandemic. Dr. Peercy says the four who are leaving will stay around to get the new members up to speed and through orientation.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done,” said Dr. Peercy. “We’ve got things to do still. There’s a lot more to do.”

So far, there’s a total of 13 people running for those four open positions on the APS school board. The election is set for Nov. 2. The following are the current candidates filed through the Secretary of State:

APS School Board District 3

  • Jinx Baskerville
  • Danielle Gonzales
  • Lucas Gauthier
  • Ali Ennenga

APS School Board District 5

  • Uche Ohiri
  • Emma Jones
  • Crystal Tapia-Romero

APS School Board District 6

  • Josefina “Josie” Dominguez
  • Crystal Franco
  • Arthur Carrasco

APS School Board District 7

  • Julie Brenning
  • Nicholas Bevins
  • Courtney Jackson

Candelaria Patterson, currently sitting in the District 5 seat, issued the following statement:

“I am not seeking re-election because my husband received the Gift of Life, a Kidney transplant 2 years ago and I want to continue to celebrate our lives together with our families who live from the East to the West Coast and our new family in North Carolina. My endorsement goes to Emma Jones who is a young mother of 2 children with a son attending APS. She is also product of APS. She understands the Albuquerque Public Schools District and is ready on day one. She is a true Community leader in raising the voices of youth and their families. Through out the years she has advocated for Equity in our Schools and at the Legislature for all our children. She supports our educators and wants to ensure their safety in the school who educate our children. She supports Community schools that provide wrap around services, resources and establishes Community partnerships that support our children and families for student success.”

District 3 candidate Jinx Baskerville issued the following statement:

“I am running for the APS Board seat in District 3 because I have the expertise and vision for improving student outcomes. I want to be a leader in addressing inequities, amplifying community voices, and making policy changes that increase access and outcomes for all students and families. I am also running because I have the experience to make this happen. I have spent my career in APS as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and principal. I have had opportunities to work and learn firsthand about school budgets, curriculum, Strategic Analysis and Program Research, Summative Reports, 90 Day Plans, Community Schools Initiative grants, teacher evaluations, memorandums of understanding, and all of the many other inner workings of a school. My 25 years within APS at various levels will be an asset as a board member. I bring knowledge and experience at running a school for pregnant and parenting youth within the Schools of Choice cluster, as well as overseeing curriculum in a comprehensive school setting. All the experience and knowledge I have will be an asset as a board member because I will be able to draw on my experience when it comes to making decisions for the district.”

Fellow District 3 candidate Lucas Gauthier also sent us a statement:

“I am running for school board because I want change for our community. I have kids, 14 and 9 and I want better for them than the status quo. We all have seen the news and it doesn’t matter what community you’re in, there are a few career politicians who utilize their elected positions for personal gain and have lost focus of who elected them, the community. My previous experience as a Deputy City Clerk, and my experience as CFO for the state since 2009, gives me a solid understanding of the board’s function. I am very familiar with the state’s procurement process, budgeting process, and legislature. I hope to bring an even keel, “reasonable person” approach to elevating our state from 50th in education and help our children become the wind of change our community needs. I look forward to getting out and meeting more parents and educators in the community to hear their ideas how we can utilize our assets to better serve our children.”

District 7 candidate Nicholas Bevins issued this statement:

“I am running because the APS Board desperately needs fresh perspective. If elected, I will be the only member who has attended New Mexico public schools this century. Modern day education has changed, and we need recent first-hand experience at the table.”

District 6 candidate Crystal Franco sent the following statement:

“I will be a strong advocate for children, parents and teachers. I am a 25-year veteran who served to preserve and protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans and now, I’m ready to lead the fight for quality education. I am incredibly concerned about the fact that New Mexico is consistently 49/50th in the nation for education. I am concerned about the constant lowering of educational standards and for children who are graduating with 8th grade or lower reading levels and who still cannot comprehend arithmetic, yet we send them out into the world with a diploma. Our kids deserve better. I am a problem solver. I see a need to serve New Mexico students just like I saw a need to serve my country during Desert Storm.”

Emma Jones, a candidate for District 5, said the following:

“I’m running for APS board of Education because I have actively been following decisions at the board level for over a decade, both professionally and as a parent of an APS student. I have seen first hand how the decisions at the board impact the classroom. I also have experienced some of these impacts as a former student. As an APS student I faced poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity, which led me to drop out of school. Fortunately, I was able to access services and get involved in my community. This changed my worldview, motivated me to be a part of the solutions, and helped me get back into school. I graduated from Freedom High school in 2005, went on to attend the University of New Mexico, and became a mother in 2008. Since then, I have dedicated my entire career to education policy advocacy, community organizing, uplifting community voices, and empowering youth and their families to be a part of decisions that impact their lives. If elected I will bring experience, along with the voices of youth, families, and teachers to decisions at the board.”

Josefina “Josie” Dominguez sent the following:

“I want to be a voice and advocate for District 6 students and their families, especially the most vulnerable; to be part of setting, implementing, and evaluating policy for critical challenges facing APS; to lobby in behalf of students and APS employees for improved working and learning conditions; and to do so collaboratively, while preserving the integrity of the institution. I worked 15 years of my 28 teaching years in APS, always as a classroom teacher. During those years I mentored student teachers, presented professional development sessions, chaired the Staffing Committee in an effort to underscore the need to hire more minority teachers. I also applied for and was awarded a scholarship to attend a Modern Language Association Conference on Foreign Language Learning at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Currently, I share after school pick up duty for my granddaughters with 2 other grandparents.”

District 7 candidate Courtney Jackson also sent a statement:

“I want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools because I believe APS is the foundation to building a better and brighter future for our kids and our community. I want to do my part to create that success. Additionally, it is time that a parent with children attending APS had a voice in the decisions being made. Parents’ voices, on behalf of our kids, have been left out of the process for far too long, and it is time that we were represented fairly, accurately, and equally to the other interests.”

Elizabeth Armijo, one of the outgoing board members currently serving District 6, sent this statement:

“It’s with a heavy heart that I share that I am not seeking reelection next term. As a parent of two APS graduates and a full-time working Mom, it’s been an honor to serve District 6. I will always be grounded in my beliefs that each and every student deserves access to quality public education, that educators need equitable pay, that schools need to be fully funded, and families and communities need to be engaged on all levels. I am incredibly grateful for the support I received during my time on the board. I’m thankful for the late night emails, phone calls, and words of encouragement. There is no community more resilient than the APS community. And when we stand together (even if it’s six feet apart) – we can see each other through whatever may come. I’m thankful to the APS staff and board members for their commitment to our students and our community. I’m also thankful to the members of our local and state government and their support of education. I’m inspired by the folks who have shown interest in running in all districts. I would like to express my full support of Josefina Dominguez for District 6. I’m confident she has the right mix of experience, passion, and dedication to make a difference. Thank you all for being on this journey with me. I am forever changed.”