School board candidate Q&As: Clovis, District 5

Editor’s note: Terry Martin and Jose Griego are running in the District 5 race for the Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education. The election is Tuesday. We asked about their qualifications, goals and challenges for the four-year terms they seek.

Terry Martin
Age: 61
Occupation: Building inspector, pastor at Triangle Baptist Church

Q: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
A: The school board looks out for students, as they are our most important assets.

Q: What do you think you bring that is unique to the board, whether it’s experience, education or perspective?
A: I have 12 years of experience working with the Clovis school system. My children grew up in Clovis, and they all went to school here. Their children also go to Clovis schools. I am also a Clovis graduate and a lifelong resident of Clovis. I truly care about the community. I am the past president for the State School Board Association and also served on the National School Board Association with the Black Caucus.

Q: What’s the best thing about the school district, in your mind?
A: The parents, teachers, staff and administration all work hard for the betterment of our children. Our school board incorporates our community’s view of what our students should know and be able to do. We make decisions about our school programs, and are accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of the schools. We watch out for our communities and do our best to ensure the students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.

Q: What needs to improve in the district?
A: I believe we need to allow the teachers to teach. I realize we have mandates and tests, but we should allow them to do their jobs.

Q: Do you think New Mexico is moving in the right direction with Common Core? Why or why not?
A: It is not whether Common Core is good or bad. We have to live with it, as it is the law. Let’s do the best job we can and move forward.

Jose A. Griego
Age: 69
Occupation: Semi-retired
Q: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
A: My background experience would probably be the strongest because I have about 35 years of public school education experience in K-12. I guess I’ve spent pretty much the same time at the elementary and secondary levels, so I understand the fundamentals of public education.

Q: What do you think you bring that is unique to the board, whether it’s experience, education or perspective?
A: I know that my experience in public education is what I would bring to the table. But I am also interested in strategic planning. I know my role as a board member. I only have two responsibilities — hire a superintendent and provide the state of New Mexico a budget. Those are the two things we’re responsible for, nothing else. So I could focus on that and hopefully make a difference in the public school district.

Q: What’s the best thing about the school district, in your mind?
A: The best thing about the district I’ve been able to observe is the location of schools throughout the city. That’s probably one of the best things, a well-planned neighborhood system. I do like portions of the curriculum to assist the diversity of students in the district.

Q: What needs to improve in the district?
A: We need to do something about the dropout rate. That’s where the district is vulnerable. We’re getting bombarded by issues that come from the state and federal government in terms of mandates. I’d have to say the core curriculum is a challenge, and also the testing/overtesting of children and the pressure put on the teachers.

Q: Do you think New Mexico is moving in the right direction with Common Core? Why or why not?
A: It’s not. The governor is proposing to retain students in third grade. All you’re doing is labeling children at a very young age. I understand why she wants to retain those students, because it’s holding back others. They can’t be left behind because you’ll have too many; you’ll have a bottleneck. In the elementary levels, you’re going to have a hard time with students falling behind and later on getting them caught up.

— compiled by staff writer Kevin Wilson