Candidates file for school; college boards

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By Carol A. Clark

After deliberating the pros and cons of serving another four years on the Los Alamos Board of Education, current President Steve Girrens decided not to run again.

“It’s important to me to continue working on current projects critical to the district such as the upcoming bond election and our 20-year facilities plan, and I intend to do that, but from a committee position rather than as a board member,” Girrens said. “I want to step aside and let others in my district have an opportunity to serve.”

Someone new did step forward Tuesday to run in Girrens’ District 2 in White Rock. Melanie McKinley decided to run, she said, because first and foremost she has four children in the district in seventh-, fifth-, third- and first-grades.

“The quality of the schools is very important to me,” she said. “Along with that is the fact that we have to select a new superintendent this year. I am also a 1988 graduate of Los Alamos High School and would like to see our schools remain a stellar example to the rest of the state and even the nation.”

McKinley explained that she feels it is a critical time to have someone on the board who cares deeply and is willing to work hard in the best interests of everyone impacted by the schools.

“When our school bond passes in January and I have great faith in the people of Los Alamos that they will pass this very necessary bond, there will be $40 million that has to be well spent, she said. “It is highly important to me that any new construction in our school system is done well and with an eye on the bottom dollar.”

Thelma Hahn filed for White Rock’s District 1, which includes Piñon Elementary School. She served on the school board in the late 1990s.

Alison Beckman currently holds that seat and is not seeking a second term. In a recent interview, Beckman said she thinks it’s important to elect someone who has strong qualifications because that person will be helping decide the district’s new superintendent.

Tuesday was the only day to file for school board and also for UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board, which has three seats coming available. One of those seats has been held the last eight years by Linda Daly who is not seeking re-election.

“I’d like to spend more time with my family,” Daly said. “I feel it’s a good time to step aside and let another community member, a UNM-LA supporter, join the advisory board. Though the university faces financial challenges in the years ahead, I feel the leadership under Dr. Cedric Page and the current board, is the strongest it’s ever been. UNM-LA also is fortunate to have top notch staff like Kate Massengale and Lisa Clough.”

Micheline Devauers filed her candidacy for the college board.

“I have always had a passion for education and the arts as well as a desire to give back to the community I call home,” Devaurs said. “I have previously volunteered on the boards for the United Way and Art Center, and am currently serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission.”

Devaurs said that, as a current member of the Leadership Los Alamos class, she had found her passion. Her concern about education was re-ignited by a presentation given by Cedric Page, the UNM-LA executive director.

“I inquired about strategic efforts of UNM-LA and believe we have a potential ‘diamond in the rough,’ in terms of educational opportunities right here in Los Alamos,” Devaurs said. “I’d like to be a part of the future growth of the curriculum and focus in science, technology, engineering and math programs by active involvement in the UNM-LA Advisory Board.”

Current board member Nelson Hoffman has filed to serve another term.

“As a citizen of Los Alamos, I’m proud to be associated with UNM-LA, and consider it a small piece of my particular civic responsibility to keep aware of the campus’ activities and help out with reviewing and advice on strategies, plans, and decisions of the campus leadership, as a member of the advisory board,” Hoffman said. “UNM-LA is an important part of what makes Los Alamos a desirable place to live. Good things are happening on campus, under the new leadership of Dr. Cedric Page, new programs are being put together and good interactions with neighboring institutions are strengthening our course offerings here.”

Hoffman said the branch college is vital to the community.

“UNM-LA strengthens Los Alamos National Laboratory, too,” he said. “One good example is the English for non-native speakers course being taught on-site at the lab, which is always viewed as very valuable by the students and their co-workers. This election campaign is a good opportunity to talk about all this, which is another reason why I’m happy to run for re-election.”

Ron Dolin also filed to serve another term.

“I seriously considered running for school board,” Dolin said. “I believe I would have brought a solid perspective and set of fresh ideas to the board and would have enjoyed the campaign. However, after long and hard consideration, I have decided to seek re-election to the UNM-LA Advisory Board.”

Dolin said that he really enjoys working on the UNM-LA Board and being a part of the UNM-LA campus.

“My reason for seeking re-election is that the UNM-LA Advisory Board has been working through many serious and challenging issues and I feel at this moment my knowledge and experience is needed,” he said.

Voters won’t face a difficult challenged in either election with just two candidates running for two open seats on school board and three for three college board seats.

Voter registration for these elections closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 30. Absentee voting will be available to registered voters from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday beginning Jan. 9 and running through 5 p.m., Jan. 30.

Early voters can cast ballots from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., beginning Jan. 14 through 5 p.m., Jan. 30.

For further information, contact the Office of the County Clerk, 662-8010 or Clerks@mail.lacnm.us.