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Uche Marie Ohiri

District 5 Candidate: Uche Marie Ohiri

Candidate Questions and Answers

Affiliations

Do you currently hold another public office?

Yes, City of Albuquerque Human Rights Commission

Do you have any affiliations with the Albuquerque Public Schools?

No

Availability

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

Yes

Additionally, there are five board committees that mostly meet once a month at 7:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., or 5:00 p.m. Are you available to attend all committee meetings? Board committees are committees of the whole, which means that all board members attend all committee meetings.

Yes

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

Yes

In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, the board minimally 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?

Yes


Experience

Answers should be brief and concise.

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

To improve the graduation rates of students. Last academic year’s graduation rate at West Mesa High School within APS District 5 was 7.6 %. This number can be increased to at least 90%. I want to encourage the use of restorative practices in helping students graduate in high school, train teachers in the use of Restorative Practices of corrective actions so that students become accountable for their actions, mend harm caused by their actions through a reflective method and maintain a trust relationship with fellow students and their teachers. The teachers in turn earn a trust relationship with their students in their efforts to instill knowledge and discipline. I would like to see improvement on equity, diversity, and inclusion within the APS. Equity and distribution of resources must be a priority of all APS board actions.

What is your interest in education?

Public Education is a human right, and not a business. Education increases knowledge, knowledge is power. Education widens one’s horizons, and opens life opportunities for our children.  Education teaches life skill sets and career development. I am a lifelong learner. 

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

I will collaboratively work with other members of the board to support the missions and vision as set by the APS Board.

How will you work with the superintendent?

I would support the superintendent in creating a holistic vision, and mission to ensure that all children within the school district regardless of social economic status receive the education that they deserve. I will work with the superintendent to improve APS, and to hold senior level officials accountable. I would work with the superintendent to stop waste, fraud and abuse. I would work for transparent accounting, and forward-thinking appropriation of budget to ensure that every dollar spent is spent on student development and success.

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

As a part of student nurses at UNM, I provided hearing screening tests to students at Cochiti Elementary School, and pre-natal care to students at New Futures School Albuquerque

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

My relationship with the superintendent would be a trusting and open relationship. It would be a relationship of checks and balances of duties as prescribed by statute establishing the APS. I will participate in the selection and hiring of the superintendent.

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

I am a lawyer, a public administrator, and a Nurse Practitioner. I have a wealth of experiences from these three professions that would enrich and benefit the APS. I bring my experience in analysis and interpretation of public policies, planning skills, budgeting and management. I bring experience in the area of public health assessment and school nursing.

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

I was involved with NM Koats for Kids, and provision of school supplies within APS through my cultural organization; Igbo Union of New Mexico. I was a secretary, and then the vice president of the Igbo Union of New Mexico. I was a member of the Pastoral Council of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande Church Albuquerque. I volunteered at Peralta Elementary School Los Lunas with administration of the flu vaccination to the students of the school. I provided health assessments to students at Cochiti Elementary and New Futures School. I taught clinical nursing skills at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), Albuquerque. I have a master’s degree in Public Administration and in Nursing. I have a bachelor’s degree in law. I have lived in District 5 for 24 years. 

How do you plan to work with constituents?

I plan to visit schools in my district on a bi-monthly basis and speak directly with students to hear their concerns. I plan to have a town hall meeting with constituents every 6 months to understand their concerns and provide guidance and solutions where possible. 

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

The residents of District 5 are deeply involved in actions to improve the community. Our challenge is equitable distribution of resources from APS. The schools in our district are not adequately staffed and are without sufficient tools to impact knowledge on our students.

What do you think is the best way for the district to accomplish the district’s goals?

  • Albuquerque Public Schools will provide equitable access and opportunity in a safe and supportive environment that addresses the individual needs of students.

The Board will advocate for community outreach to improve adult literacy and to help students whose parents are not literate in the English language. The success of this adult literacy program will improve academic success of students as parents become involved in the academic process of their children. The Board must make the success of each student in APS a priority. The future of a child should not, and must not be dependent on the zip code they were born into; the only limit should be the child’s imagination. 

  • Albuquerque Public Schools will align the work of schools and departments and create a system of high-quality accountability for instruction, social, emotional and physical health and safety.

The Board would incorporate Home Health Assessment Program for students identified to be at risk and provide support to the family of students with vouchers to provide basic school supplies. The Board would budget for increased presence of health care professionals, and social workers in each school district for detailed evaluation of mental and physical health of students at risk. The Board should budget for hiring of more Mid-Level Health Providers within APS. Guns and knives should be outlawed in every school in APS. 

  • Albuquerque Public Schools will create a clear direction for efficient and effective operations to better serve students and improve staff morale.

The Board will set goals, prioritize achievable goals, set action groups, and steadily work and evaluate the projects/set actions. The board must prioritize resources and have transparent budgeting processes according to needs of each school district. 

  • Albuquerque Public Schools will improve all modes of communications to better inform and engage the Albuquerque community invested in public education.

The Board would encourage diversity in all of its actions. New Mexico, Albuquerque in particular, is rich in diversity. Our diversity is our strength and it must be encouraged, reinforced, and refined in our communities, and in the classroom. The Board should encourage parents-teachers meetings with every school in the system. The Board would create an accessible channel of communication with members of the public in every APS district to express their concerns, and or acknowledgement of good actions occurring within APS. 

If elected, how will you work with the current board?

I would work collaboratively with members of the board to ensure improved student graduation rates, improve equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

 

School Board Candidate Questionnaire for District 5 from The Paper

Q&A  APS Board District 5 - Uche M. Ohiri from the Albuquerque Journal