FMS District 4 sees candidate challenging school board president
District 4 is one of three seats on the FMS board election
FARMINGTON — The race for the Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education District Four race features a candidate challenging the current school board president for his spot on the board.
Andrea Turman is the only candidate challenging current District Four board member Kyle Rhodes for the board during the Nov. 5 school board election.
Both candidates replied to a questionnaire which detailed why they are running for school board, what challenges they foresee for the district and information on the professional/political background.
Turman stated that education has always been an important part of her life, having worked 17 years as an educator at Casa Montessori Preschool.
She also has managed the business for 16 years and is a graduate of the Farmington municipal school system.
The candidate has three children enrolled in the school district and believes she can be a voice for teachers and students.
"I want to bring the focus of the school board back on the students and the classrooms. I believe the board should engage the community more in policy-making," Turman said. "Big decisions that affect our children’s education deserve the input of the community."
Turman cited studies where school boards that collaborate with the community and a strong communication system, there is a better chance the public can be engaged and informed.
"It is critical that communities get involved in supporting local schools because the community will benefit from, or bear the burden of, the quality of the education of its’ children," Turman said.
The biggest issue she sees Farmington schools dealing with is the gap between schools need and what they receive and also brought up the safety of students should be the top priority in schools.
She highlighted a decline of school resource officers, stating most schools end up sharing a single officer.
Rhodes was first elected to the District 4 seat during the Feb. 1, 2011 regular school election, according to the San Juan County Clerk's Office website.
He has served as the school board president for the last four years.
Rhodes is an owner and President/CEO of PESCO, which employees about 500 people that manufacture equipment for the energy industry.
He also serves on the New Mexico State University Foundation Board, which awards about $7 million in annual scholarships and the NewMexicoKidsCAN Board. The nonprofit is a statewide education advocacy organization.
Some of the accomplishments Rhodes listed under his tenure included a 65 percent in reading proficiencies during the last four years and a 35 percent increase in math proficiencies for Farmington schools.
Another statistic Rhodes cites is Farmington schools has decreased their teacher turnover rate by more than 60 percent.
For Rhodes, he views several challenges as opportunities for improvement.
One area of priority for the candidate is focusing on increasing teacher pay. The district has also increased teacher pay above the state mandated raises for the last three district budgets.
"We must continue to improve the culture throughout the District and individual schools so that our people are passionate about staying in the education field," Rhodes said.
He also stated the board should continue to working to develop high quality and equitable instruction in classrooms using their High Reliability Schools model, stating high student achievement is linked to quality instruction.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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