Albuquerque Public Schools is holding an election for members of the Board of Education in school board Districts 1, 2 and 4 on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Early voting begins Oct. 19. Absentee voting began on Oct. 8.
The candidates for District 1—in southern Albuquerque—are Madelyn Jones and Yolanda Montoya-Cordova.
Jones is a busines owner who says she wants to contribute to the schools' success. She has no experience as an education specialist but attended APS schools while she was growing up. According to a questionnaire on the APS website, she said “I have served on boards before. I assume this will be the same” when asked how she plans to serve her constituents.
Montoya-Cordova is the Secretary of the Board of Education and has been a member since 2017. She is currently employed as the State Administrator for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. In her questionnaire, she wrote: “I also plan to make myself available to parents and students when issues arise to assist with connecting to APS staff/programs.”
The candidates for District 2—in northern Albuquerque—are Lauretta Harris and Peggy Muller-Aragón.
Harris is a retired educator who taught math and technology at APS for 21 years. She was a union rep for 16 years and served as the Albuquerque Teachers Federation Secretary and Treasurer. When asked how she will serve her constituents, she wrote: “I will hold meetings, attend PTO meetings, write email, and post on social media to inform and learn from my district.”
Muller-Aragón was first elected to the board in 2015. Muller-Aragón has been the subject of a number of controversies, including her efforts to block progressive transgender bathroom policy reform in 2016 and a failed attempt made by constituents to recall her from her seat in 2015.
The candidates for District 4—in the South Valley—are Verland Coker, Barbara Petersen and Laura Carlson.
Coker is a student advocacy activist who says he wants to make education more inclusive. In spite of dropping out of an APS high school, he says he has spent the last eight years conducting system analysis and educational research. Coker supports “radical change” in the local school system to meet the district's goals.
Petersen worked as an educator at APS for over 30 years and also served as the political outreach coordinator of the ATF. She earned her master's degree in education from the University of New Mexico. She has spoken in favor of reforming teacher evaluations and improving collaborative efforts between education leaders.
Carlson's background is unclear. She did not attend a recent community meeting where candidates discussed district issues. According to her questionnaire, Carlson's daughter is involved in the first grade Spanish program at Zia Elementary School. She did not answer how she would serve her constituents.