Success in the Board Races! Volunteers Make a Difference!

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


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