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Yolanda Montoya-Cordova

Yolanda Montoya-Cordova - Questionnaire

Yolanda Montoya-Cordova - Letter of Intent

Yolanda Montoya-Cordova - Resume

Personal Information

Name: Yolanda Montoya-Cordova, MSW                       

Length of Residency in School District:  45 years

Occupation: State Administrator- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Employer: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions

Do you currently hold other public office?          Yes  No X

If yes, list office:

Do you have any affiliations with the Albuquerque Public Schools?  Yes   No X

If yes, what are your affiliations? 

Are you available to attend board meetings the first and third Wednesday nights of the month at 5:00 p.m. and special board meetings as needed?                      YesNo 

Additionally, five board committees mostly meet once a month at 7:30 a.m., 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. Are you available to attend committee meetings?   YesNo

            If no, please explain why: 

Periodically, the board must meet during daytime hours for board meetings, budget hearings, and luncheons. Are you available during daytime hours for these activities?                       YesNo

            If no, please explain why: 

In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, the board requires approximately 20-25 hours a week in reading, researching, miscellaneous meetings, school visits, telephone calls, and e-mail correspondence; many board members spend much more time than that. Can your schedule accommodate the extra time involved in serving as a member of the Board of Education?                                             YesNo



Answers should be brief and concise.

  1. Why do you want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools?

I am a lifelong resident of District 1, attended local schools, Kit Carson Elementary, Ernie Pyle Middle School and graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1976. I lived in Texas for 15 years and upon my return in 2004, my late husband and I built a home in the South Valley. My professional career as a Social Worker includes child welfare, developmental disabilities; children's health and mental health; with specific expertise in community building, systems development and positive youth development and engagement. I want to be a member of the APS Board because I believe my personal and professional experiences have prepared me with the knowledge and skills necessary to represent the unique needs of parents, students, staff and local agencies/organizations of District 1. Since my return to Albuquerque in 2004, I've also been involved in several projects and programs specifically designed to improve and/or enhance for children and youth.


  1. What is your interest in education?

Education is a vital component for youth, their families and the community. Education is the door to lifelong skills associated with academic milestones necessary to reach post-secondary and career goals. Education is also a major contributor to important skill development related to positive relationships, community and civic engagement, personal decision making, and economic success for individuals, their families and the community. I believe education is the "door" to all these important skills and our schools provide many of the "keys" necessary to meet these goals. Public education provided the most important opportunities for me and my family and continues to be a critical component of childhood development. As an educator at the post-secondary level, my goal is to share my expertise with young adults pursuing a career in social work; knowing that the classroom not only provides students with important skills and knowledge, but also enhances the quality of life for me as well. Public school is just a beginning and through the classroom the power and excitement of continuous learning can be ignited.


  1. In what ways will you support the mission and vision of the district?

As a Board member I would see my role as an ambassador for the District. My goal would be to visit with parents, students, teachers and staff; key community leaders and agency directors to fully understand their vision. My goal would be to find opportunities to align vision/mission with the Board and share what I've learned. Much of the work is based on the reality that as just one person, I alone cannot carry the vision/mission for the district; however I can help influence ideas and change. I would pursue opportunities to meet with people from all ages, represent the district and ensure I'm inclusive of many voices, many opinions and many diverse needs, including those from APS leadership and the Board.


  1. How will you work with the superintendent?

I envision the role of Board member as a professional collaborator and advisor. I am currently the Vice-Chair for a local non-profit and the role/work is very similar, in this capacity I review operations and policy and oversee the budget in partnership with the board members and executive director. We work closely with the Executive Director to provide insight and meaningful advice. As a Board Member for APS, I envision a relationship with the Superintendent based on mutual respect and professionalism. I envision opportunities to share common interests and ideas, as well as opportunities to engage in discussions to broaden perspective and understanding. I would also respect decisions and support decisions the Superintendent implements, knowing her expertise and day-to-day work are surely much more informed. I will also unite with her to assist and facilitate opportunities to meet with community members, agencies/organizations, as well as families and students to promote the needs of the district.


  1. What is your past and current involvement with Albuquerque Public Schools?

In my previous position as the Director of School Health with the Department of Health, I worked closely with APS to promote the development and implementation of school based health centers, school nursing, youth suicide prevention and positive youth development and engagement. These activities included meetings with several school leaders, as well as the Board, to review policy, plan and strategize implementation and share progress and success. The partnership with APS was instrumental in increasing access to school-based health centers and improving sustainability with local health providers and agencies. Other programs such as school nursing and youth suicide prevention included strong alliances with the APS school health leadership that resulted in enhanced nursing practices, improvements to youth suicide response and access to resources, tools and materials to support school mental health practices. Additionally, I worked in partnership with the ABC Community Schools Initiative to support and promote APS efforts to expand activities. I was a regular member of the ABC Community Schools taskforce and assisted with the review of proposals from various schools and assisted with the development of training for community school coordinators.

In my current role as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Administrator for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, we are exploring opportunities with all public schools to broaden career and college readiness. Specifically, our agency is supporting an internship project with Rio Grande High School, WorkKeys training at Manzano HS and coordination with Mission Graduate and Graduate ABQ to expand access to our agency career planning tools and resources. I've been in this role for only a year and future goals include additional training and awareness for educators on our career exploration tools and resources; as well as youth engagement to expand general awareness of work readiness and college/career preparation. I'm looking forward to expanding the partnership between our agency and APS.


  1. What should be the relationship between the superintendent and Board of Education?

The relationship must be professional, based on honesty and integrity. The relationship should be based on mutual respect and a desire for engagement and collaboration. The relationship should be based on openness and trust. Our relationship should be based on mutual interests based on the mission/vision/goals. I understand that as a Board we are also responsible for evaluating the performance of the superintendent, and as such, it will be important to ensure we are providing excellent guidance, as well as tools and resources necessary to ensure her success. The success of our superintendent is a reflection of our leadership and it is critical the superintendent feels confident in the Board's capacity and commitment to assisting her to meet performance and the overall mission/vision for APS.


  1. What qualities and skills would you bring to the Board of Education?

As a long-term public employee, my dedication to public sector work is an important quality. I have direct work experience in adolescent development, education, mental health, career and college readiness and developmental disabilities. I have over 30 years of experience in community development and systems development, including program development, implementation and evaluation. I have convened and led a variety of community projects and believe my best skills are the ability to convene and facilitate diverse communities and lead a project from beginning to end. I also understand the complexities of public policy; legislative processes and they influence and/or direct agency decisions and activities. I also believe I am strong communicator and an excellent negotiator. I listen for understanding and truly enjoy diving into complex problems and issues.


  1. What school or community volunteer activities have you participated in related to the community?

I am currently a volunteer board member for a local non-profit, Pegasus Legal Services for Children. I've been on this board for three years and have actively participated in fundraising and general awareness. I volunteer for The Stables Homeowner's Association as the Secretary/Treasurer. In previous years, my late husband and I also assisted with the development of open spaces in our neighborhood; including a green space; basketball court and an area for children to play. I also volunteer for the annual Free to Breathe event by participating in fund raising and assistance with event day preparation and activities.


  1. How do you plan to work with constituents?

I look forward to visiting schools, meeting with parents, teachers, students and staff to understand activities underway. I believe meeting constituents in settings where they naturally convene or participate is critical to understand what they find important and to strengthen work they are promoting. I attend several meetings weekly and oftentimes there are community members, parents and youth actively engaged, expressing their ideas and working on behalf of their district. As a board member I want to connect these efforts back to the work of APS by sharing with the superintendent and fellow board members. I certainly also understand there will be limitations to keep in mind - I will not become a "sounding board" for constituent complaints - I envision a role of observing and listening to constituent efforts and looking for opportunities to align and bridge their efforts as often as possible.


  1. What do you see as opportunities and challenges to the district?

The challenges in District 1 are certainly not new to APS. As a resident of the area, as well as a public policy professional, concerns related to poverty, lack of access to healthcare and mental health, high crime and substance use rates, are issues that have existed for many years. Despite these challenges, the community remains rich in diversity and a culture of working hard helps to sustain momentum when developing new and relevant resources. District one is challenged with a poor or negative perception held by many of our city residents. This perception is detrimental and has an impact on the psyche and wellbeing of its residents. Many of the residents feel marginalized and sometimes trapped into believing little to no success can or will be made in the area. There are many successes in this district and one of the largest challenges is ensuring students in the district are surrounded by adults and a community that believes in the ability and capacity to succeed can be found in the area; but also a willingness to address important social determinants of health necessary to improve the quality of life for the students, their parents and residents of the community. Leveraging human capital to engage in positive discourse and planning is challenging, however, one that cannot be overlooked to meeting the challenges often found in the area that contribute to poor outcomes for students in the area.


  1. What do you think is the best way for the district to accomplish the three academic goals?
    1. Early learning – Early learning begins with expecting parents, is nurtured as children develop language and number skills in elementary school, and grows with students as they mature in supportive classrooms becoming adept at using these skills in a variety of contexts.

Early learning requires a partnership with the community health agencies and organizations that provide access to health care and promote healthy lifestyles to ensure first and foremost children are healthy and ready to learn. Bridging discussions and participating in campaigns with expecting parents to build excitement about learning that includes information about the strengths and positive outcomes of children attending APS schools. Building partnerships with head start programs to enhance teacher preparation and curriculum and also assisting with opportunities for head start age youth to visit their home school to create excitement and ease anxiety. Finally, ensuring children who have developmental delays are connected to early learning experiences and resources necessary to address disabilities and prepare families to understand schools policies and resources before they attend school is vitally important.


    1. College and Career Readiness – Students acquire skills that support formal and informal life-long learning to adapt and remain productive through changing economic and job market landscapes. All students will be prepared for post-secondary opportunities (college and/or career) without the need for remediation.

College and Career Readiness will require partnership development with local workforce development agencies/organizations, businesses and post-secondary institutions. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires local workforce development boards to strengthen partnerships with key agencies, including school districts to promote college and career readiness. Bridging APS to these efforts will certainly provide access to important resources and tools for students and their families. Additionally, APS staff access to resources such as labor market information to help students learn and know about available jobs and market trends, career exploration tools to broaden awareness; facilitation of workforce literacy that promotes skills and abilities necessary for successful workplace performance; as well as increased opportunities for students to engage in meaningful internships and work experiences that enhance preparation for post-secondary decisions or employment readiness after high school. Finally, ensuring that students with disabilities are engaged with vocational rehabilitation no later than 9th grade to ensure there is a bridge to post-secondary employment or education


    1. Developing the Whole Child – APS will ensure each child is safe, engaged, challenged and supported through programs and practices focused on removing social, emotional and physical barriers to learning and increased health literacy.
        • Safe and welcoming environment
        • Whole Child includes… physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual
        • Remove barriers to learning
        • Discover and develop individual gifts and talents
        • Use skills to better the community

As the former Director of School Health for the Department of Health I always felt the commitment from APS to develop the whole child was found in resources dedicated to school nursing, school based health centers and school mental health. APS has a long tradition of ensuring youth who were struggling with access to health and mental health were identified early and connected to services early. APS' willingness to include access to school based health centers to faculty and community is also commendable. Certainly, the needs far outweigh what is available and the issue of unmet needs remain a reality.  Additional activities such as the implementation of community schools and youth engagement are found throughout the district. The continued promotion of these best practices, as well as the continuation of staff development in suicide awareness, positive youth development and civic engagement, parent engagement, as well as ongoing support youth participation in school activities such as team sports, clubs, music and art, will all contribute to enhanced social emotional wellbeing.


  1. If appointed, how will you work collaboratively with your fellow board members to put the needs of students first, regardless of your personal or political preferences?

If appointed, the Board will have my utmost commitment to personal integrity, honesty and collaboration. My working career has been filled with opportunities for meaningful participation and engagement in community efforts designed to improve outcomes for youth. The most valuable aspect of this work has included work with diverse individuals, including people with disabilities, youth transitioning from the foster care system, parents involved with the child welfare system, health providers, legislators, expecting and parenting teens, agency leaders and organizations, post-secondary institutions and religious leaders. The most valuable lesson from these encounters was the value of mutual respect. I learned long ago that the art of true engagement is being present in the moment. I value the importance of attention paid when in a conversation or a project. I will bring this lesson to the Board, knowing that if we are all truly in the moment when we are together as Board

Members, we are listening for understanding, working for collaboration and creating space for meaningful partnership.

View a PDF of this applicant's questionnaire (this version may not meet federal requirements for accessibility).

This page was last updated on: November 3, 2017.