Espanola Public School Board Election

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School Board Election Underway
Almager And Fresquez Will Not Seek Re-Election
 
By ROBERT NARANJO
Valley Daily Post
 

Board Secretary Annabelle Almager (above), along with Vice President Lucas Fresquez, will not seek re-election. Photo by Robert Naranjo\valleydailypost.com

 
Two current Española School Board members will not seek re-election in the upcoming Feb. 7 school board election. Four men from the Valley have filed to succeed the two.
Board Secretary Annabelle Almager and Vice President Lucas Fresquez were up for re-election this year but have opted not to run. The board has staggered terms so not all five members run at once.
Running for Almager’s District 2 seat are Leo Marquez and Patrick Herrera. Seeking Fresquez’s District 3 seat are Pat Chavez and Gilbert Serrano.
Early voting begins Jan. 18 and continues to Feb. 3. Election Day is Feb. 7. Early voting is at the Health Commons on Industrial Park Road. The Commons are across the National Guard.
Absentee ballots can be requested at the County Clerk’s office on Industrial Park Road and they will be mailed to the school district voter.
Chavez ran for school board four years ago but narrowly lost to Fresquez by 43 votes.
The following board members currently represent the five different districts that make up the school board and Española Public Schools (EPS). Communities in those five districts are also listed.
Dist. 1 – Yolanda Salazar, Member, Lower and Upper Dixon, Ranchitos, Fairview, Chimayo, Cordova, Truchas, Sombrillo
Dist. 2 – Annabelle Almager, Board Secretary, Española Pct. 12, Fairview Pcts. 3 & 40, Santa Cruz Pcts. 58 & 7
Dist. 3 – Lucas Fresquez, Board Vice President, Santa Clara, San Pedro, La Mesilla, Sombrillo, Chimayo, Rio Chiquito
Dist. 4 – Pablo Lujan – Board President, Abiquiu, Canones, Hernandez, Ojo Caliente, Rio Chama
Dist. 5 -Ruben Archuleta – Member, Alcalde, Chamita, El Guique, San Juan-Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo
The Valley Daily Post will interview each candidate in the coming weeks to give voters information on what each candidates will bring to the board and the district.
The Española Public School District #55, established in 1920, has experienced challenges in recent months with the Public Education Department (PED) taking over the district’s finances.
The genesis of all this appears to be the firing of Coach Richard Martinez, who coached the Española Valley High School (EVHS) Sundevils to the 2016 NMAA Class 5A State Basketball Championship and a 4A State Basketball Championship in 2011.
Less than two weeks after winning the Championship blue in front of 12,000 fans in “The Pit” (WisePies Arena) in Albuquerque, former Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez placed Martinez on leave amid controversy over Martinez’s actions as a coach and school employee.
Several weeks later in early April, Gutierrez officially terminated Coach Martinez then she subsequently quit at a school board meeting later that day.
Gutierrez’s replacement, current Superintendent Eric Martinez, rehired the successful coach and said at a packed board meeting last summer that the coach, who is also an educator, was “not given due process.”
The PED has claimed that the superintendent hired the coach when he had already been served with a Notice of Contemplated Action (NCA) but Superintendent Martinez rehired the coach before the NCA was delivered.
Coach Martinez’s Albuquerque attorney, Sam Bregman, told the Valley Daily Post last fall that he planned to “vigorously defend,” fight for, and restore his “good name.” Bregman hasn’t had that chance.
The PED pushed back Coach Martinez’s hearing several times from its original November date and it’s now scheduled for February.

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