On May 2nd, the ATF Federation Representative Council voted to endorse three candidates for the three 2023 Board of Education races. Fed Reps attending the meeting, both in person and online, approved the candidates recommended by the Unified COPE Committee 87 to 1. The Unified COPE Committee is comprised of all the unions who represent Albuquerque educators: Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF), Albuquerque Federation of Classified Professionals (AFCP), United Academics UNM (UA-UNM), and the AFT NM Retirees.
Why is the ATF making these endorsements so early for the November election? It is imperative that the APS school board be composed of members who are pro-public education and pro-labor. The current majority on the Board are dedicated to union busting and are moving to charter-ize and privatize our school district. They seek nothing less than the dissolution of APS and its unions.
We must support Board members who believe in our public schools and who legitimately want to improve them with stakeholders’ input.
We must support Board members who respect educators as professionals and believe they should have the right to meet the needs of their students in the ways their students learn best.
We must support Board members who believe in a working relationship between the district and its labor unions.
The COPE Committee adhered to their usual strict vetting process, interviewing all candidates who were interested in your union’s endorsement. We believe that the three candidates endorsed by the Fed Rep Council will stand up for our educators and our students. We know they will work in good faith to improve our district by listening to students, families, and educators.
Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Endorsed Candidates
ATF Unified COPE and the ATF Fed Rep Council endorse the following BOE candidates:
District 1 – Robert Trujillo
Robert Trujillo was born and raised in District 1 where he attended public schools. His children are currently enrolled in APS schools.
For the past 25 years, Robert has been giving back to the community that has given him so much. His advocacy brought a YDI daycare to the South Valley. He has served on the Pajarito Elementary School Instructional Council as the parent volunteer. In 2008, he was awarded the South Valley Outstanding Citizen Award.
Robert is running for APS Board of Education to continue to work collaboratively with parents, guardians, educators, students, and community members to ensure that diverse communities and voices are recognized and uplifted. He is committed to providing safe and equitable learning opportunities for all students. Robert is a staunch supporter of labor and understands the importance of collective bargaining.
District 2- Ronalda Tome-Warito
Ronalda graduated from Crown Point, NM High School. She attended UNM where she earned a master’s degree in Race and Social Justice Studies.
She has a vast knowledge of special education issues. She has spent much of her career advocating for students with special needs. She worked for the Jefferson County, Colorado Schools as an advocate for special ed students as well as serving as the Project Specialist/Advocate at Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS).
Ronalda has a deep understanding of the Yazzie/Martinez v. NM lawsuit and is dedicated to working for equity for all students. APS has one of the largest populations of Native American students in the nation. Ronalda’s voice and expertise on special education and Native American issues are sorely needed on the APS Board of Education.
District 4 – Heather Benavidez
Heather believes in community service. When asked by many community members to run for APS Board of Education she accepted the call. She attended public schools from Kindergarten through college and remains a staunch believer in public education.
Heather has been a public servant for over twenty years. She served as a judge on the thirteenth Judicial District Court, Rio Communities Municipal Court, and Los Lunas Magistrate Court. She also worked at the NM State Treasurer’s Office where she implemented progressive policies.
Heather is currently the CEO of The Arc of New Mexico, which promotes and protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. She has spent her career protecting the rights of all people, and wants to expand that commitment to support all students and educators in APS.