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Josefina Elizabet Dominguez

District 6 Candidate: Josefina Elizabet Dominguez

Candidate Questions and Answers

Affiliations

Do you currently hold another public office?

Yes, Precinct 530 Chair for the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County

Do you have any affiliations with the Albuquerque Public Schools?

Yes, My son and daughter-in-law are APS employees

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?

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.

What is your interest in education?

I was raised with a deep regard for the ideals and purposes of  public education. I have 28 years experience in the classroom as a teacher. I’ve worked in 7 different school districts, but the majority of my experience has been in New Mexico and APS specifically. That rich background is an asset I can share constructively. Becoming a school board member is the next logical step in my public service to the institution which I care so deeply about.

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

I believe my commitment to education and the public schools specifically aligns with the mission and vision for a more equitable, inclusive, accessible school system. I believe expanding community schools, and adopting a social, emotional, learning philosophy has the potential to better serve students and their families, helping them feel more connected, welcomed, and invested in their education. How we implement the vision is critical.

How will you work with the superintendent?

I look forward to a respectful, collaborative working relationship.  Superintendent Elder deserves to be recognized for the positive work he has accomplished during a difficult year. And he will need to answer questions regarding budget processes and school safety. The tone of those questions, however, will always be respectful.

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

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.

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

The superintendent and Board should be mutually responsive to the needs of students, families, and the community at large; should provide responsible leadership to students and their families, teachers, and  support staff. The community at large is also invested in the relationship between the superintendent and the Board.

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

I am an avid student and researcher. I bring a commitment to listening and learning from constituents and board Members; to working collaboratively, respectfully, and efficiently without cutting corners; to being a passionate advocate for our students and their families in Santa Fe when lobbying for the District; to hold school administrators accountable for our limited budget.

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

I serve as Block Captain for our townhome community and am currently organizing efforts to join the Cibola Addition Neighborhood Association. I recently coordinated the Neighbors Night Out for our block.  I am also the Chair for Precinct 530 for the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County.

How do you plan to work with constituents?

I will reach out for invitations to visit schools and look forward to conversations with principals and parent teacher organizations. I especially want to reach out to the East Mountain constituents who often feel like the “step-children” of Albuquerque politics and civic engagement. I look forward to learning from veteran board members for guidance on this topic.

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

The Yazzie/Martinez ruling presents the most significant challenge and opportunity because it requires systemic changes, from the State down to the local districts. It serves as a clarion call to re-imagine how we will give access to voices that have been left out of our conversations state-wide and district-wide. In all of my 28  years as a classroom teacher, I was the lone minority honors teacher and often one of 2 or 3 minority teachers in English departments. All children--special education, honors, regular education students-- deserve a rich sampling of who we are as a community. I look forward to the Board extending invitations to tribal leaders and organizations; immigrant families and their advocates to present their views and suggestions to the Board and Superintendent.

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.

Community Schools that offer medical and behavioral health services, social services that support families, organizations that train families on how to be leaders and/or how to navigate APS and college applications promote the school as a hub of their community. They seem to offer the best avenue for being responsive to the students and families who have suffered most by lack of access.

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.

As APS works toward this goal, I will encourage the Superintendent to promote a classroom-driven, teacher-driven approach, mindful of the need to keep teachers and principals mostly on their campuses while this goal is implemented. As in grassroots organizing, implementation must be organic to the school and its community. This requires family input. We have Albuquerque organizations who can help in this endeavor in a meaningful way. Also, enlisting fellow teachers selected by their peers to be in charge of their professional development is critical for implementation to work seamlessly.

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

The first steps to better serving students and improving staff morale must begin by addressing the teacher and support staff shortage at the school sites. This was the number one concern on the APS 2020 Survey for the Search for Superintendent. It is not the first time our community has raised the issue. The Board and Superintendent need to address staffing, low wages and salaries, and concerns about class size and resources to the class. Until these foundational classroom issues are effectively dealt with, achieving the other goals becomes illusive and inefficient, a source of frustration and low morale for both teachers and students.

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

After spending hours studying the APS website, I am reminded that not all families have internet access. But even if they do, we need to get creative about how we approach communication. Telephone townhalls and mailers must be part of the process.  Also, I am more convinced than ever that we have a marketing problem. The goal acknowledges that we are not putting our communications department to good use. Perhaps hiring a consulting firm with a diverse background and understanding of Albuquerque Public School is one solution to guiding our Communications Department.  We have so many showcase events happening at so many schools. More of those stories need to be told to a wider audience, and we can do more of that through news casts, newspapers, radio shows and podcasts.

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

I pledge to work respectfully and responsibly with the current board; to bring District 6 constituents’ concerns to the table and enlist fellow board members’ help with solutions. Protecting the integrity of the Board and its work is a serious endeavor.

 

School Board Candidate Questionnaire for District 6 from The Paper

Q&A  APS Board District 6 Josefina ‘Josie’ Dominguez from the Albuquerque Journal