Letter To The Editor: I Am Ready To Represent District 2

By ANTONIO R. JAURIGUE
District 2 School Board Candidate

It is no secret that this school board election has been more contentious than any school board election should be. I would like to make my case one final time before election day.

During this election cycle, there have been many important points raised on all sides, and I have already learned so much about what the community wants and needs in a candidate. I’ve presented my biography before, as well as answered as many questions as have been asked in the many forums as well as on my website. But allow me to explore some in detail here. 

It has been pointed out that the school board members should not be expected to represent their district, and in some cases it has been implied that they need to instead focus on governance and strategic oversight rather than operational issues. If elected, I would be one of a board of five members whose decisions will have long lasting impacts for the future of Los Alamos schools and would not only represent my district, but the community as a whole. 

With this in mind, I look towards the most recent advances in education and society and strive to reflect those in our district. Whether it be innovative ways to provide housing and produce the win/win/win scenario described in the North Mesa Housing Initiative, or to endorse learning methods that promote critical thinking. It should be understood by board members that representing the school of the district someone is elected in, and focusing on governance and strategic oversight are not mutually exclusive.  Given that the position is elected and not appointed, it’s important to represent those who elected you, while also promoting what’s best for the entire school district.  

Most recently I had a great conversation after the PTO forum in White Rock with a mother who let me know the struggles she has faced with homeschooling and how lacking some resources are for aid from the district. This allowed me to stress a point to her that others seem to miss. I WANT to hear these issues and learn from the community. I WANT to take this knowledge to the school board so I can represent her and help other families that have the same issues. Other candidates have spoken about how the job of a board member is to do what’s best for the kids in this district. I would agree with that, but add that the way to know what’s best for the kids is through communication with educators, parents, and students. A board member cannot act on their feelings alone. The educators, parents and students know what they need.

It has also been pointed out on many occasions that I have children in the district (a second grader, fifth grader, and seventh grader) and although it is not a prerequisite, I believe it is a strength that sets me apart from the other candidates. There is something to be said about being a parent navigating the district, curriculum, and society of today. 

It is possible to be present without having children in the district, but the other candidates have not put forth that effort in our district to do so. I would hope anyone who wants to have a leadership role in our school district would have a history of being present and understand the current feelings of parents and teachers. There is a lot of responsibility for the school board members, and without a concerted effort to hear the needs of the educators, parents, and even students, it would be difficult to adequately represent them. 

I have been present in my countless volunteer activities, to listen to what is needed and help when I can.  Something as small as making a treasure chest so a teacher can provide positive reinforcement or as large as organizing and running a fundraiser for PTO shows how being present allowed me to help. Those relatively small needs would not have been known to me if I were not present.  The endorsements by educators and families at the bottom of this article highlight how present I have been and how confident the staff and parents are that I have the district’s best interests in mind. 

There has been much agreement on the importance of student’s mental health, but with disagreement around the role of the schools on the mental health of students. There has also been some misunderstanding about my position on this subject. I argue that promoting the mental health of students is an act that can have a positive impact not only on the individual, not only the district, but on society as they grow out of our district. If a child is taught their value at a young age, and to respect themselves and others, that will echo into their adulthood and give them the confidence to approach and overcome any problem.

Some think that promoting mental health means that we would remove adversity, or make life or school too easy. This is either a misunderstanding or a purposeful misrepresentation. The goal of promoting mental health is to prevent kids from being discouraged due to their own perceived inadequacies. I would bet that almost every adult has seen a child avoid adversity when they already believe they are not good enough. 

My position is one that wants to teach them that they are good enough, and that adversity is nothing more than another challenge they will beat. I fail to see how anyone can be against this. We have great teachers who know what they are doing with the resources they have. They do their best to promote critical thinking and all it takes is sitting in a class to recognize that they prioritize the student’s mental health to achieve this end. This is what I want to continue, and expand. 

I look forward to further discussions with the community and urge everyone to reach out to me with questions, concerns, and comments. Once again, my email is accessible through my website. Should I be elected, my appointed email will be available to reach me and I implore everyone to utilize it.

Endorsement letters for Antonio R. Jaurigue: 

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