School board candidate Q&A’s: Grady, Position 3

Editor’s note: Jack Driever, Gerald Garland and Jerome Provencio are each running in the Position 3 race for the Grady Municipal Schools board. The election is Tuesday. We asked about their qualifications, goals and challenges for the four-year terms they seek.

Jack Driever
Age: 64
Occupation: Retired
Q: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
A: I want to serve, basically, to put my expertise from being a foreman and supervisor and running crews
Overall, I’d like to be involved in the community and in the school. I’d like to be involved with aspects of the school curriculum, and see what I can do to help improve upon what’s already there.

Q: What do you think you bring that is unique, whether it’s education, experience or perspective?
A: Probably my experience and my knowledge, not only in business but in trades that I’ve done over the years. I enjoy working with the kids.
I’m willing to serve in whatever capacity I can on the school board. I’m new on going into a school board situation, but I’ve worked in industry, electrical, welding, automotive. I have a vast knowledge, though it’s not necessarily college classes. I’d like to ensure there’s more to life out there (instead of) just being without a trade.

Q: What’s the best thing about the school district, in your mind?
A: The one thing I like about Grady is the fact that it’s a small school from Pre-K all the way to 12th grade. The teachers, whether they’re 12th or pre-K, know about every kid there is in the school. There’s a little more one-on-one time allowed to each kid because of the smaller numbers. I think the teachers and administration we do have out here are some of the best in the state. The educational value per child, I think, is very good, and I’d like to see that remain. We’ve got a few standards out here like dress code and hair length that are different than the rest of Curry County, which I think helps with the mannerism of our kids and the respect they have.

Q: What needs to improve in the district?
A: There’s always room for improvement. I don’t care what school it is. I think we could improve in the ag department, as far as our metal crafts, to give the students a little insight into what they can use once they get out of there. Whether they stay in agriculture or not, I know we concentrate on livestock out here. I’d like to see more concentration on shop time and teaching kids about mechanical things we can offer. I know in our chemistry class, we’ve got some chemicals here, but a lot of them are old, so I’d like to try to get the resources to improve the chemistry class. I’m from Idaho originally, and it was not nearly as important in Idaho as in these states to be bilingual. I’d like to implement that in the school, a Spanish class. When these kids get out of high school, if they don’t pursue college, there are better job opportunities if they speak Spanish.

Q: Do you think New Mexico is moving in the right direction with Common Core? Why or why not?
A: I think so. I try to keep up on what the national averages are, and I think New Mexico is definitely headed in the right direction. With Grady, the averages came up from last year to this year. As long as we keep improving, I think that’s the main goal. We want to try to get up to the national average, and up above it.

Gerald Garland
Age: 47
Occupation: BNSF engineer
Q: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
A: To be an asset to the faculty and students.

Q: What do you think you bring that is unique to the board, whether it’s experience, education or perspective?
A: Hopefully I can bring a non-biased perspective to the board.

Q: What’s the best thing about the school district, in your mind?
A: The best thing is the community support. I feel it makes a firm foundation for the school, which allows for better structure being the faculty and then support for the students.

Q: What needs to improve in the district?
A: I am not sure about improvements. If I, as a parent, was enrolling my child in Grady Schools, I would feel confident knowing my child is receiving their best.

Q: Do you think New Mexico is moving in the right direction with Common Core? Why or why not?
A: I am not a big fan of Common Core. I think it is a one-size-fits-all program, and there are too many holes in it.

Jerome Provencio
Age: 45
Occupation: Site manager Friona Wheatgrowers, Grady Fire Chief/EMS director
Q: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
A: I believe in our students. I believe in Grady Schools, and I just want to be part of a team that provides the best we can for them.

Q: What do you think you bring that is unique to the board, whether it’s experience, education or perspective?
A: I do have experience, not on a school board, but 20 years in management positions with the grain elevator and Grady Fire/EMS. I do budgets and maintenance, and I also take care of the education and curriculum for the fire department. I hope my perspective on both can be an asset to the school.

Q: What’s the best thing about the school district, in your mind?
A: I believe Grady has a very strong academic program. The school’s report card in 2014 had very good marks from the state. The student-to-teacher ratio is also very good.

Q: What needs to improve in the district?
A: I would say something in the line of communication in general. I would like to see more of a variety of classes instead of simple core classes — Spanish, maybe more science classes, home ec class, communications classes. Maybe we could see a public speaking class.

Q: Do you think New Mexico is moving in the right direction with Common Core? Why or why not?
A: With me on Common Core, the jury is out. I do believe we need advancements in math and English, I do agree with that. We need curriculum that is similar from state to state, I agree with that. I believe the testing is excessive; it’s detrimental to teachers that if a class doesn’t score well it could cost them their job or pay. Part of it was piecemeal. They didn’t get the whole thing before they were supposed to teach it.

— compiled by staff writer Kevin Wilson