ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Public Schools Board will soon be welcoming four new faces. They’re replacing incumbents who chose not to run for re-election. Now, more than half of the district’s board of education is made up of newly-elected officials.
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More than ever, people are paying attention to what school leaders are doing to protect communities during COVID. Newly-elected APS board members are preparing to step into their roles.
Danielle Gonzales was elected to represent District three. She says, “From the moment I decided to run and throughout the campaign, I really focused my efforts on COVID recovery. I always said that was the number one issue for me and by that, that’s really about tending to our students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs.”
Josefina Dominguez is a retired school teacher. As she re-enters education she wants to push for more internship opportunities at schools. She shares, “We have four charter schools who have paid internships and apprenticeships going out to 550 students and that’s the kind of thing I want to see happen in our neighborhood schools.”
Courtney Jackson says she’s bringing a parent’s perspective to the board. She wants to see strategic planning that focuses on curriculum. “I think we’ve shifted away from prioritizing student learning. And that is one thing that I really want to focus on is bringing our literacy and math proficiency rates back up,” Jackson says.
Crystal Tapia Romero has worked in early childhood education for more than 20 years. “There was a lot of buzz going around that many of us were backed by businesses,” says Tapia Romero. She wants to emphasize working with the business community to help create career opportunities for students in the future. “We want to keep our students here, we want to keep our workers here and I think when we partner with the many businesses within our local community then it’s a win-win for everybody.”
New board members say they also want to tighten up on the school district’s finances. After former APS employee Sheryl Williams Stapleton’s numerous felony charges, board members say they want to gain the trust of families, students, and faculty again.
Tapia Romero explains, “I actually want to dig in and look at that budget. I want to look at every line item and to make sure we’re accountable for every single dollar that’s being spent. That we’re not being reckless, that we’re not just being frivolous with money going in and not having any justification of how it’s going out.”
The four new board members will be sworn in on January 5. This is the first city election voters had the chance to choose who they wanted to see on the APS school board.