Dear ATF members,
There is no union without YOU. That has never been more apparent than the recent Board of Education election. Union members and our community allies stepped up to volunteer precious personal time to make sure our candidates prevailed.
“This election is the most important election we’ve ever had.” This rings true time and again. For this Board election, our efforts were focused on finding and supporting candidates who believe that our educators and support staff are partners with parents and their communities. We knew that our public schools would be under siege if the well-funded extremist groups were allowed to divide educators from parents. We knew it would be a battle to protect ALL our students, to continue to teach real history and keep books in libraries that represent who our students are and their life stories. We knew we had a target on our backs because we continue to stand for transparency and truth.
Keeping the union movement alive and defending our public schools is a daunting task. Those who want to destroy our right to organize as workers and syphon funds from public education are well-funded and ill-intentioned. If it feels like our fight for public schooling and respect for all never ends—because it doesn’t.
We also knew that the APS Board will soon choose a new superintendent to steer the course of our district. We knew we would have to work tirelessly to ensure that caring and respectful Board members make that choice.
Knowing all that, we started the BOE “campaign season” in December of 2022. Our newly consolidated Unified Committee on Political Education (COPE) met to assess the needs of each union represented: ATF, Albuquerque Federation of Classified Professionals, United Academics-UNM, and AFT NM Retirees. We laid the groundwork for the coming year by asking our members to contribute to the COPE fund. Our COPE committee vetted candidates who vowed to support workers’ rights and public schools.
We found three great candidates, and as summer waned, we asked members to volunteer. We set up a system of liaisons who would help recruit volunteers and coordinate our communications with candidates’ campaigns. We’d like to thank Jennifer Lopez (La Mesa ES), Dorothy Wilkinson (AFT NM Retirees), and Christy Jewell-Roth (AFT NM Retirees) for filling these crucial rolls.
We worked to create lists of our members who live in Board Districts 1, 2, and 4. We began making targeted phone calls on September 7th and canvassing targeted households on September 9th in all three districts. We sent texts. We mailed flyers. We created videos and memes, and held fundraisers. By the conclusion of the Board election, union members and our community allies had raised thousands of dollars for candidates, knocked 7,604 doors, and made 5,802 phone calls.
We didn’t win every race. However, as Jim Steinman wrote and Meat Loaf sang, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” We are proud to say that we were able to help elect two new stellar Board members: Ronalda Tome-Warito and Heather Benavidez.
Ronalda took on an entrenched incumbent who had more money and powerful anti-union allies. Ronalda won with a message of hope and inclusivity. She will be the first Native American Board member in APS history.
Heather won in a landslide against a candidate who was backed by the hate group Moms for Liberty. Rather than engage in the culture wars, she campaigned on her background as a steward of public funds and her dedication to providing safe and quality schools for all students.
We are grateful for our endorsed candidate Robert Trujillo. Although he didn’t prevail, he stood strong on his record as a volunteer with deep roots in his community.
We are also pleased that the APS Mill Levy passed, providing our schools with much-needed funds for improvements to our campuses.
ATF members, community allies, and endorsed candidates, we say THANK YOU!
ATF Members & Community Volunteers
Alyssa, Anaya, Tres Volcanes CCS
Noah Armstrong, Coyote Willow CCS
Samantha Ashby, Sandia HS
Sara Attleson, COPE Chair, Retiree
Sonya Autrey, Hodgin ES
Ellen Bernstein, ATF President
Terri Bitsie, Alamosa ES
Deena Burnett, ATF Staff Rep
Mary Kathryn Brudos, Chamiza ES
Kathy Coffey, SE Diagnostic Center
John Comstock, Retiree
Loyola Cortinas, Tierra Antigua ES
Christa Curfiss, Whittier ES
Denis Day, Sandia HS
Nick DePascal, Sandia HS
Jane Fedor, Rio Grande HS
Kiristie Flores, LBJ MS
Katrina Garcia Spillman, Edward Gonzales ES
Robin Gibson, community volunteer
Linda Gloudemans, community volunteer
Shelly Goodman, Petroglyph ES
Cheryl Haase, COPE Co-chair, Grant MS
Sarah Hager, Cleveland MS
Pat Halama, Retiree
Elisabeth Hall, Mark Twain ES
Daniel Hall, Manzano HS
Margit Hammer, Volcano Vista HS
Celeste Hernandez, Bel-Air ES
Mary Howe, Governor Bent ES
Annie Huggins, Georgia O’Keefe ES
Ben Imbus, John Adams MS
Cyndie Ives, Mountain View ES
Christy Jewell-Roth, Retiree
Zoey Johnson, Hayes MS
Bonnie Kavanagh, SE Diagnostic Center
Sonja Kortsch, Bandelier ES
Jason Krosinsky, McKinley MS
Alec LaHoff, Alamosa ES
Jennifer Lange, NW Diagnostic Center
Jennifer Lopez, La Mesa ES
James Macklin, Kit Carson ES
Julie Martinez, Volcano Vista HS
Margaret Matteucci, Desert Ridge MS
Patrick McElwee, Eldorado HS
Allison Moore, Volcano Vista HS
Tracy Nichols, John Baker HS
Isaac Nieto, McKinley MS
Dwayne Norris, ATF Vice President
Norma Nunez, East San Jose ES
Sherie Pennebaker, Jefferson MS
Barbara Petersen, Retiree
Anne Pierce Jones, Retiree
Mitch Rekow, West Mesa HS
Angela Reynolds, Aztec Diagnostic Office
Cristina Rincon, Adobe Acres ES
Daniel Rollings, Albuquerque HS
Kelsey Rust, Volcano Vista HS
Therese Saunders, Retiree
Rose Schiowitz, Eugene Field ES
Toni Seidler, Garfield MS
Diana Shea, Retiree
Heidi Sims, Grant MS
Karena Smestad, Hawthorne
Cindy Smith, Los Ranchos ES
Angelica Vasquez, McCollum ES
Jessie Vehar, A. Montoya ES
Oscar Villanueva, Del Norte HS
Derek Villanueva, Manzano HS
Sharon Vocale, Aztec Diagnostic Office
Dorothy Wilkinson, Retiree